First human case of West Nile virus since 2017 detected in Utah County

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A resident of Utah County has been diagnosed with West Nile virus. (Photo: KUTV)

A resident of Utah County has been diagnosed with West Nile virus, according to the health department.

This is the county's first human case since the 2017 mosquito season.

“This should serve as a reminder to all residents to take steps to prevent mosquitoes and West Nile Virus The importance of using insect repellent with DEET can not be overstated,” Mosquito Abatement Director Dan Miller stated in a press release. “We encourage residents to use online tools to request free services from the Health Department’s Mosquito Abatement District. Another great online tool is the interactive GIS maps showing current and past mosquito trapping activity, including positive WNV mosquito pools.”

So far this year, eight other human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the state. Several counties across Utah had a total of 30 pools of mosquitoes test positive for the virus, bring the total to 192 for the year, according to the Utah Health Department. Over 5,000 pools have been tested.

Utahns are encourage to keep mosquitoes away by following the steps:

  • Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus; follow package directions about application.
  • 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.

According to the health department, most people who get infected don't notice any symptoms. Others experience flu-like symptoms or worse. The elderly and people with poor immune systems are at greater risk if they get West Nile virus. Serious cases can lead to death, hospitalization or disability, according to a press release.