SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – One week after West Nile Virus turned up in Draper, the Utah Dept. of Health is confirming the infection in three more counties.
Officials say eight mosquito pools across Salt Lake County, Uintah County, and Box Elder Counties have now tested positive, along with a Golden Eagle in Kane County.
Last week, abatement crews at a marshy pond near 11800 South 800 East found WNV-carrying larvae. Tuesday, they were out testing surrounding areas, saying this summer’s already record-hot temperatures, combined with the wet spring we had, made for a much earlier onset for the infection.
Crews say they will not be surprised if the virus turns out to be active in several more counties.
They are now urging members of the public to be extremely careful, to wear bug spray, and to cover up at night especially, because that is when infected insects are active.
Because there are no vaccines or cures for WNV, health officials are also asking people to minimize risk by getting rid of any standing bodies of water — however small — around their homes.
“Mosquitoes don’t travel very far from where they breed, so the best thing to do is stop those breeding grounds…” said state epidemiologist, Dallin Peterson. “If you have bird baths or even small little containers of water — dump those out,” he explained.
Symptoms of WNV range from flu-like to full-blown neurological problems that can last a lifetime. In rare cases, the virus can also be fatal. Peterson says on average, one Utahn dies from WNV each summer.