West Nile virus detected in Utah County; human cases detected in Grand, Carbon counties

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

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Aug. 29, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — West Nile virus has been detected in a mosquito pool in Utah County, officials said.

The Utah County Health Department Mosquito Abatement District detected the virus in a pool in the Footprinter Park area in Provo, according to a news release.

A mosquito pool is a group of mosquitoes caught and tested from a single trap.

In addition, the Southeast Utah Health Department announced in a news release the first human-contracted case of West Nile virus in Carbon County this year.

This follows three other confirmed cases in the same district, in Grand County, bringing the total human-contracted cases in Utah this year to seven.

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.

“If a person is infected by West Nile virus, the risk of serious disease is low,” a press release from SUHD said. “Most of those affected will have a mild to severe flu-like illness with muscle aches, fever, rash, and headache that usually lasts a few days but can last months.”

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In rare cases, those infected may get meningitis or encephalitis, the press release said. Those at greatest risk of serious disease are those with weakened immune systems, diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease.

The elderly are at greatest risk for severe complications. The overall death rate
is about one for every thousand infected individuals.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection other than to treat symptoms, the press release said.

Just last week, five cases of human-contracted West Nile virus were detected in Utah.

On Sunday, the second human-contracted case of West Nile virus in Grand County was detected. The first human-contracted case in Grand County was confirmed Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the TriCounty Health Department announced a confirmed case of human-contracted West Nile virus within the Uintah Basin.

The Salt Lake County Health Department and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department both confirmed human cases on Monday. The latter was in Washington County.

The only case of neuroinvasive West Nile virus, a more severe form of the disease, was the case in Salt Lake County.

The affected individuals were not identified due to medical privacy laws.

Anyone who thinks they have West Nile virus symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.

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