Utah West Nile mosquito numbers on the rise

Local News

SALT LAKE COUNTY (News4Utah) –  Mosquitos in Salt Lake County, Duchesne, and the Bear Lake District tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Utah Department of Health’s weekly report.

“We’re trying to stay on top of that, and make sure we don’t have it translating into the city,” Brad Sorensen, the Salt Lake Mosquito Abatement Urban Supervisor, said Monday.

Susan Massey lives in Salt Lake City and loves her backyard fountain. She says mosquito abatement is the only way she would be able to keep it and enjoy it. 

“They place fish and little pellets, and they also check the trees, spray that, and it’s wonderful,” Susan Massey of Salt Lake City said.

Last month, the state lab confirmed mosquitos in Box Elder, Uintah and Davis County

Our weather pattern has not helped when it comes to the insects. Extreme heat was a contributor to the season starting two weeks early. 

“The virus itself shows up earlier in the year because of the heat that we had. The hotter it is, the virus circles between the birds and the mosquitos earlier,” Randy Sessions, the director of Box Elder Abatement, said.

The Salt Lake City Abatement District has been working hard for months, saying residential prevention is just as critical as in rural areas. News of West Nile showing up is a new normal, and THE abatement districts says finding positive West Nile pools is extremely helpful. 

“We’re not at all looking forward to having West Nile activity, but, it’s now established here in Utah, and having a trap come back positive is giving a great idea of where we need to focus our efforts,” Brad Sorensen, the Salt Lake Mosquito Abatement Urban Supervisor, said Monday.

Efforts include spraying the wetlands near the SLC International Airport from the ground and from the air. Training is underway to use a drone to target specific areas in the airspace as well. Control in urban areas includes abatement cyclists monitoring drainages and road puddles as well as monitoring ornamental ponds and delivering mosquito-eating fish.

“We’ve been trying to control the mosquitos, trying to make sure it’s not going to get transmitted and moved around as best as we can. Now that we know that it is here, we really have to hit it hard in those areas,” Brad Sorensen, the Salt Lake Mosquito Abatement Urban Supervisor said.

If you need to make a request for mosquito-eating fish, check here for information: http://www.slcmad.org.

Mosquitos actually taste you before they bite, they have taste buds on the bottom of their legs and are looking for a certain type of blood chemistry. Remember to take proper precautions if you are outside after dusk. Be sure to wear long sleeve shirts and pants. Mosquito Repellent with DEET or Picaridin is also a great way to avoid mosquito bites.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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