CARSON CITY - Mosquito season is here in Nevada, and so is West Nile virus (WNV) season. Nevada usually sees WNV cases around mid-June through October, with spikes in August. At this time, Nevada has had 14 positive mosquito pools test positive for West Nile Virus: 13 in Clark County and 1 in Washoe County. Nevada hasn't had any human WNV cases so far in 2014, but Nevada has seen cases every year since 2003. Every year varies, with cases having been as high as 126 reported in 2006 to two in 2010. Most of Nevada is experiencing severe to exceptional drought. With fewer water sources, mosquitoes and animals are coming into closer contact as they are searching for water. As Nevadans enjoy the summertime weather and try to stay cool by enjoying lakes and rivers, it is important to remember easy ways to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. The best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. You can protect yourself and your family by:

• Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Products containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol provide longer-lasting protection.

• If possible, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.

• For extra protection, since mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, spray your clothing with repellents containing permethrin and don't spray repellents on your skin under your clothing.

• Take extra care from dusk to dawn, as these are peak mosquito biting hours.

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

• Use air conditioning, if you can, so you don't have to open doors and windows.

• Empty standing water around your home (gutters, pet water dishes, tires, etc.) and keep pools clean on a regular basis.

Mosquitoes that are carriers of WNV become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite. WNV is NOT spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person with the virus.

For more information on WNV please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html or call the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health at (775) 684-5911.

For more information about the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, go to: http://health.nv.gov.