Experts offer prevention tips after 3 cases of West Nile Virus reported in Salt Lake County

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The Salt Lake County Health Department announced Friday there are three human cases of West Nile Virus in the county, and the three incidents mark the first cases of the virus to appear in Utah this year.

According to the press release from the health department, all individuals are expected to recover, and officials note that the virus is not spread through human-to-human contact but rather through mosquito bites.

The press release states, “There is no treatment for West Nile Virus, so prevention is essential.”

Mosquito abatement efforts are ongoing, but the health department urges residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites and the risk of WNV.

“We’re seeing West-Nile–infected mosquitoes throughout the valley,” Sam Dickson, director of the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, stated in the press release. “Our crew has been working since early spring to reduce the number of mosquitoes and continues to do so. However, MADs cannot eliminate all mosquitoes and residents need to do their part to protect themselves, too.”

The release states there were two human cases of WNV in the county in 2014, and the last known fatality due to WNV in Salt Lake County was in 2007.

The department provided several tips for preventing exposure:

  • Wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and socks when outdoors from dusk to dawn, when WNV-carrying mosquitoes are most active
  • Using repellents that contain DEET or picaridin when outdoors from dusk to dawn
  • Regularly removing any standing water in yards
  • Clearing roof gutters of debris
  • Keeping ornamental ponds clean and contacting their local MAD to stock them with mosquito-eating fish or long-lasting biological control products
  • Ensuring screen doors and window screens are in good condition
  • Cutting weeds and tall grass as adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours
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