Health Department confirms human case of West Nile virus in Washington County

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ST. GEORGE, Utah, Aug. 19, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Southwest Utah Public Health Department has confirmed a human case of West Nile virus in Washington County.

“West Nile virus was recently detected in mosquitoes here,” said Dr. David Blodgett, SWUPHD Director and Health Officer, by way of a news release. “We encourage residents to be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites to prevent further infections.”

While West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, not all mosquitoes carry the virus. The mosquitoes that carry the virus are typically active from
dusk to dawn.

When you’re outdoors during those times, it’s important to follow these guidelines, the news release said:

● Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow
package directions when applying.
● Wear long sleeved shirts and pants.

Follow these additional guidelines during mosquito season to minimize exposure:

● Remove any puddles or standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed,
including birdbaths, swimming/wading pools, old tires, buckets and plant containers.
● Keep roof gutters clear of debris.
● Keep weeds and tall grass cut short.
● Ensure door and window screens are in good condition so mosquitoes cannot get inside.

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“While most people infected by this virus won’t notice any symptoms, some people may
experience flu-like symptoms or worse,” the news release said. “The elderly and people with poor immune systems are at higher risk for symptomatic disease. The most serious cases can lead to hospitalization, disability or death.”

Symptoms of the severe form of West Nile virus include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, disorientation and confusion.

The Salt Lake County Health Department also announced the first human case of West Nile virus in the county this year Monday.

“The infected individual is an adult diagnosed with neuroinvasive West Nile virus, a more severe form of the disease, and remains hospitalized,” said a news release from the Health Department.

“Due to medical privacy laws, SLCoHD cannot release additional information about the individual.”

The individual in Washington County did not need to be hospitalized, officials said. That person has not been identified.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of West Nile virus should contact their healthcare provider.

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