West Nile Virus Still a Danger this Fall

(KCPW News) Heath officials are warning that cooler weather is no reason to stop watching out for mosquitoes. The Utah Department of Health reports that last week, a human case of West Nile Virus was confirmed in Salt Lake County, and a horse has become infected in Iron County. Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District Manager Sam Dickson says West Nile numbers across the country are especially low this year, but fall is the time everyone needs to be careful.

“At this time of the year. it would be more likely then any other time of the year simply because as the year goes on, we kill a lot of mosquitoes, but the ones that survive are older and older,” he explains. “Older mosquitoes have fed once a week; each time they feed they have an opportunity to pick up West Nile virus.”

Dickson says the recent cases of West Nile are believed to be connected to southern Utah, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t spread to the northern parts of the state.

Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Theron Jeppson recommends wearing insect repellent that contains DEET when doing anything outdoors between dusk and dawn.

“If you do experience any symptoms of West Nile Virus, you know fever, headaches, or body aches, and you are suspecting that maybe you have gotten bitten by a mosquito that’s causing that, see your doctor,” says Jeppson. “There’s not a lot they can do other than provide supportive care, but at least they can help diagnose the problem and know what course of action to take.”

Mosquito season typically lasts through October.