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Moab 1st Utah city to report West Nile virus in mosquitoes this year

By Ashley Imlay, KSL | Posted - Jul. 12, 2019 at 11:29 a.m.

MOAB — Officials found mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus in Moab.

The virus was detected in mosquitoes collected July 2 by the Moab Mosquito Abatement District. The city received the positive results Thursday, according to a statement from Moab officials.

The mosquitoes came from the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve.

To prevent infection, city officials reminded residents and visitors to wear long sleeves, long pants and repellent that contains DEET at night. Residents should also remove any stagnant water from their yards.

Moab is the first Utah city to report mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus. In late June, the Utah Department of Health warned that although Utah hadn't by that point seen any mosquitoes with the virus this year, the wet spring meant "that will definitely change."

"In years like this where we have a lot of standing water, we get new habitats that are going to form that we may not have been aware of previously," Ary Faraji, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District manager, said in a late June statement from the state health department.

Most people with the virus do not develop symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But about 1 in 5 develop headaches, body aches, joint pains and other symptoms. One in 150 develops serious symptoms including high fever, stupor, disorientation and tremors, the CDC says.

People over age 60 and those with preexisting medical conditions like cancer and diabetes are most at risk, according to the CDC.

Eleven Utahns contracted the virus last year, with one of them dying from it, according to the Utah Health Department.

Horses and other animals are more at risk from the virus, according to the Moab statement, which encouraged residents to get their horses vaccinated.

The virus often kills crows, ravens, magpies, jays, hawks, eagles and owls, city officials said. Residents who find a bird acting in a "sick manner" or "fresh-dead for no apparent reason" are encouraged to call the Moab Mosquito Abatement District at 435-259-7161 to help the district track the extent of virus activity.

Ashley Imlay

KSL Weather Forecast