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Could The Mosquitoes That Carry Zika Make Nevada Home?


Jeffrey Arguedas/EPA

The mosquito Aedes aegypti is a spreader of Zika virus.

Samples from 42 people from Clark County have been sent for testing to see if they have the Zika virus, according to the Southern Nevada Health District, and of those, 37 have come back, five with a positive result. 

Dr. Joseph Iser is the chief medical officer for the SNHD. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that none of the people tested for the virus contracted it here, instead they were infected while out of the country. 

The virus has been found in Brazil and other South America countries, along with Mexico and the Caribbean.

The Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes and by those been infected by the virus through sexual contact.

The virus usually causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms but it is connected to serious birth defects. Health experts also believe the virus triggers a rare disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. 

Dr. Iser said the health organizations are working on a vaccine for the virus but that can take months.

He also said that for now, the type of mosquitoes that carries the Zika virus are not found in Nevada.   

However, a Centers for Disease Control map shows the potential for the mosquitoes to find a home in extreme southern part of Clark County as well as large parts of southern Utah, Southern California and Arizona.

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Iser said the health district team tasked with watching for the mosquito is setting up mosquito traps in areas where mosquitoes are likely to breed and where the type of mosquito that carries the disease could be imported.

“As plant cuttings and plants come in we’ll want to keep our vector surveillance program up and running,” Iser said, “Where I’m worried are green pools that’s pools that aren’t being kept up or have been abandoned by the owners or these flooded areas… that’s when we see hordes of mosquitoes.”

Iser said if the surveillance team finds the Aedes aegypti mosquito they will let everyone know and treat the area with fogging, which kills the adult insects.  

From NPR: CDC: 157 Pregnant Women In The U.S. Have Tested Positive for Zika


Dr. Joseph Iser, chief health officer, Southern Nevada Health District

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