Human case of West Nile virus confirmed in Uintah County

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

VERNAL, Utah, Aug. 20, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The TriCounty Health Department announced a confirmed case of human contracted West Nile virus within the Uintah Basin Tuesday.

Uintah County Mosquito Abatement said four mosquito pools in the county tested positive for West Nile virus, said a news release from the Health Department. A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes caught and tested from a single trap.

The individual was not identified due to medical privacy laws.

“TCHD asks the public to use caution, reducing the risk of human exposure,” said a news release from officials.

Keep the following in mind to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus:

  • Mosquitoes carrying the virus bite between dusk and dawn.
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and use EPA-registered DEET mosquito repellent.
  • Always follow instructions before applying DEET to children, do not use DEET repellent on children under 2 years old, instead dress children in clothing that covers arms and legs.
  • Cover strollers with mosquito nets.
  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.
  • If using sunscreen and repellent, apply sunscreen first, repellent second.
  • Permethrin-treated clothes provide protection after multiple washings; do not use permethrin (an insecticide that repels and kills mosquitoes) directly on skin.

Most people do not experience symptoms, though one in 150 infected experience severe illness, the news release said. Symptoms can include a high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, vision loss and paralysis. People over 60 are at greater risk.

The human case in Uintah County is the third this week in Utah.

The Salt Lake County Health Department and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department both confirmed cases on 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 Salt Lake County Health Department.

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

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department confirmed a case in Washington County the same day.

“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.”

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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