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Mosquitoes in Southern Utah test positive for West Nile virus, public health officials say

Southern Utah

WASHINGTON COUNTY (ABC4 News) – West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes in Washington County, according to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.

The Southwest Utah Mosquito Abatement & Control District obtained positive test results of 3 pools located in a similar area, according to manager Sean Amodt.

Amodt said August and September are the peaks of the mosquito season and West Nile virus, and abatement and control crews have been hand-dipping for larvae, treating ponds, and spraying from trucks and ATVs to keep the virus from spreading.

“We’ve had times where we’ve caught 4000 or 5000 mosquitoes overnight in one trap in specific areas,” said Dalin Gunter, a field technician for the Southwest Utah Mosquito and Abatement.

While no human cases have been reported in Southern Utah yet, crews urged residents to stay vigilant. While most people with the virus won’t notice any symptoms, others may experience flu-like symptoms or worse, if the virus becomes neuroinvasive, attacking the nervous system and possibly swelling the brain.

“With some human cases in the past, sometimes their symptoms have lasted for years and years,” said Amodt.

The elderly, young children and anyone with poor immune systems may be at risk of serious illness, with the worst cases resulting in hospitalization, disability, or death, according to the health department.

Tips from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department:

● Use mosquito repellent when outdoors from dusk to dawn (when mosquitoes are most active). Adults and children older than 2 months of age can safely use repellents that contain up to 30% DEET.

● Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors.

● Remove any puddles or standing water around your home where mosquitoes can breed, including birdbaths, wading pools, old tires, buckets, and plant containers.

● Report bodies of stagnant water in Washington County to the Southwest Utah Mosquito Abatement & Control District (435-627-0076).

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