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West Nile virus findings prompt mosquito warning for SL County residents

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County residents are being warned to take precautions against mosquitos after West Nile virus was detected in multiple groups of the summertime pests.

The Salt Lake County Health Department released a statement Tuesday urging residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites after multiple "mosquito pools," or groups of mosquitos caught in a trap and then tested, came up positive for the virus.

Ilene Risk, the health department's epidemiology bureau manager, assured that no human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed, "but this is a good reminder that it is now especially important that residents protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly in the hours from dusk to dawn."

Though only some mosquitos carry West Nile virus and many people never realize they have been infected, the health department warned the virus can cause mild to severe illness. Symptoms appear in three to 14 days and include fever headache and body aches.

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Less than 1 percent of people who contract West Nile virus develop severe infections that can cause long-term health complications or death, according to the health department.

The health department urged residents to take precautions, including:

  • Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Drain standing water in yards that can collect in old tires, potted plant trays, pet dishes, toys or buckets.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants after dusk.
  • Keep roof gutters clear of debris.
  • Clean swimming pools often or drain them.
  • Clean garden ponds and stock them with mosquito-eating fish or mosquito dunks.
  • Make sure doors and window screens are in good condition so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
  • Keep weeds and tall grass cut short to reduce shady places where adult mosquitos can rest during the hot daylight hours.

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McKenzie Romero

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