The Dangerous Reason It May Be Best To Avoid A Vacation To Las Vegas This Summer

Las Vegas is known to get rowdy, thanks to its infamous nightlife scene. However, that's not why the Nevada city is expected to be dangerous this summer. As tourists flock to the longest-standing hotels on the Las Vegas Strip for a summer vacation, mosquitoes, too, are swarming the travel destination. According to the Southern Nevada Health District, this year's buzzy insects are carrying the West Nile virus in record-breaking numbers.

Mosquitoes from a whopping 16 Las Vegas zip codes have tested positive for the virus, though, as of early June 2024, the zip codes in the main tourist areas haven't been affected. Unfortunately, the outbreak isn't limited to just a few mosquitoes here and there. The Southern Nevada Health District recorded over 3,000 mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, and mosquito season has only just begun.

One reason for the uptick is thought to be the rise of the Aedes aegypti mosquito species, a type of mosquito known to aggressively bite humans. Besides testing positive for West Nile, some of these pesky insects were also found to carry the St. Louis encephalitis virus. If you haven't already booked your flight tickets and hotel, you may want to rethink visiting Las Vegas this summer to avoid getting sick.

What happens after a virus-carrying mosquito bites you?

There's a reason why mosquitoes are considered one of the deadliest animals in the world. If a mosquito is carrying a dangerous virus, it can pass it to humans and other animals with one quick bite. Thankfully, only around one in five people who contract West Nile virus suffer symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common ailments include fever, aches and pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and a skin rash. Serious symptoms are rare but can include central nervous system inflammation, vision loss, paralysis, and even death.

St. Louis encephalitis can also cause severe symptoms such as nervous system inflammation and long-term disability or death. However, like West Nile, most who become infected don't show any signs of the illness. In Las Vegas, it's unclear how many people will be affected — or have already been bitten — by mosquitoes carrying either virus.

How to protect yourself from mosquitoes in Las Vegas

There are a handful of vacation destinations where pesky mosquitoes will not be your problem. Unfortunately, Las Vegas doesn't seem to be among them this year. If you're committed to visiting Las Vegas for its famous casinos and top-notch entertainment, take precautions to protect yourself from dangerous mosquitoes.

First, the Southern Nevada Health District suggests protecting your skin from the blood-sucking pests. Use a mosquito repellent when you head outdoors and reapply as needed throughout the day. Though Las Vegas can get scorching hot in the summer, you may also want to wear clothing that offers coverage. Wear long pants and long-sleeved tops, ideally in a breathable fabric (such as linen or cotton) to prevent overheating. These tips are especially useful in the early evening hours when mosquitoes are known to be most active.

If you'll be staying in an Airbnb or short-term rental, there are also a few steps you can take to keep mosquitoes at bay. Keep the windows and doors closed during your stay, and watch out for any standing water outside the property, where mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs. If you do get bit during your trip and notice any unusual symptoms, such as a fever or upset stomach, promptly seek medical attention. There's no cure for West Nile or St. Louis encephalitis, though a doctor can recommend treatment options for your symptoms.