Fifth human case of West Nile virus this week confirmed in Grand County

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

GRAND COUNTY, Utah, Aug. 25, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — The Southeast Utah Health Department has announced its second human-contracted case of West Nile virus in Grand County this year, the fifth such case in Utah this week.

“Due to medical privacy laws, SEUHD cannot release additional information about the individual except that this is not the neuroinvasive form of the disease,” said a press release from the department.

The first human-contracted case in Grand County was confirmed Wednesday.

“This news comes after a total of seven mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus this year,” the press release said.

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

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,” the SEUHD press release 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.”

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.

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

Uintah County Mosquito Abatement said four mosquito pools in the county tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a news release from the Health Department.

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

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

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

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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