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Two counties report 2019’s first human cases of West Nile virus in Utah

News

SALT LAKE COUNTY (ABC4 News) – A person is in the hospital with the first reported case of West Nile virus in Salt Lake County, health officials said Monday.

The person infected has a more serious form of the disease known as neuroinvasive West Nile virus.

Health officials say less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop neuroinvasive disease, which can result in debilitating long-term complications or death

The virus has been detected in 21 different mosquito pools around the county.

“There are a growing number of mosquitoes carrying the disease,” said Ilene Risk, SLCoHD epidemiology bureau manager, “so it is now especially important that residents protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly in the hours from dusk to dawn.”

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department confirmed a second human case was confirmed in Washington County Monday afternoon.

Health officials advise using DEET permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus when going outdoors.

Symptoms of WNV infection appear within 2 to 14 days and include fever, headache and body aches. More severe infections may include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors and muscle weakness or convulsions.

Those over 50 and with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk, but anyone can become ill from the bite of an infected mosquito.

The virus is not transmissible from person to person.

Other ways to protect yourself against WNV

  • After dusk, wear long sleeves and pants
  • Drain standing water in yards (old tires, potted plant trays, pet dishes, toys, buckets, etc.).
  • Keep roof gutters clear of debris.
  • Clean and stock garden ponds with mosquito-eating fish or mosquito dunks.
  • Ensure door and window screens are in good condition so mosquitoes cannot get inside.
  • Keep weeds and tall grass cut short; adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.

Last year, public health officials confirmed that 11 people in the state contracted the virus, one of them died.

For more about WNV click here.

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