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West Nile Virus Pops up in Box Elder County

West Nile Virus Pops up in Box Elder County

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- A cluster of mosquitoes in Box Elder County has tested positive for West Nile virus, marking the emergence of the disease in northwestern Utah.

The Bear River Health Department confirmed the test results Friday.

It was the year's second confirmed case in Utah of a disease that can be spread by mosquitoes that pick it up from biting infected birds.

Earlier one of the more than 400 chickens distributed to communities across Utah for testing purposes was confirmed to have the virus. The chickens don't get sick from the virus but develop signs of infection in their blood.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 158 human cases of West Nile, including five deaths, in Utah in 2006.

The last recorded death was of Arla Heaton, 74, of Murray, who was infected by a mosquito while tending a garden before dawn, family members said. She died in September.

Most people infected with West Nile show no symptoms, but some can develop a fever, headache and rash that lasts a few days, experts say. Older people are at greater risk.

The Bear River Health Department is advising people spending time outdoors to wear long sleeves and pants, use bug spray containing DEET, drain any standing water around homes and replenish water in bird baths every few days.

Box Elder County authorities said they would be spraying larvacide and insecticide from truck-mounted foggers throughout the summer.

Information from: The Herald Journal

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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