Officials: Mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus found in Salt Lake County

The Culex mosquito is one variety found in Utah that can carry the West Nile Virus. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, July 19, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The West Nile Virus has been detected at multiple sites where water pools in Salt Lake County, and health officials are urging residents to take precautions.

Irene Risk, epidemiology bureau manager with the Salt Lake County Health Department, said there are not currently any confirmed human cases of infection in the county.

“But this is a good reminder that it is now especially important that residents protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly in the hours from dusk to dawn,” Risk said.

Not all mosquitoes carry WNV, but minimizing exposure still makes sense, the office said, offering the following tips:

● Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow package directions about application.

● Drain standing water in yards (old tires, potted plant trays, pet dishes, toys, buckets, etc.).

● Wear long sleeves and pants after dusk.

● Keep roof gutters clear of debris.

● Clean swimming pools often or drain them.

● Clean and stock garden ponds with mosquito-eating fish or mosquito dunks.

● Make sure doors and window screens are in good condition so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.

● Keep weeds and tall grass cut short; adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.

West Nile Virus can cause mild to severe illness and many people may not even know they have been infected, according to information from the Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD).

It is estimated that less than one percent of people infected with WNV will develop severe infection, which can result in debilitating long-term complications or death.

Symptoms of WNV appear within three to 14 days and include fever, headache and body aches. Severe infections may include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors and convulsions.

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