MOAB — Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus all over the Beehive State, but officials in Moab have discovered another type of mosquito they say is a “vector for various viral diseases.”
The Aedes aegypti mosquito can transmit diseases like yellow fever, Zika virus, chikungunya and dengue by biting a person infected with one of the diseases, then biting another person and transferring the virus, according to an emailed release from the Southeast Utah Health Department.
The mosquitoes are most prevalent in the southern and mideastern parts of the United States, as well as some parts of California and Arizona, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are very unlikely in Utah, except for a small portion of Washington County.
The species is new to Grand County and the area, but there is no indication that any of the diseases the mosquitoes can transmit are present in the local population, the news release says.
“Nevertheless, we (the health department) will work with all of the local health care providers and community partners to properly plan for and recognize these diseases should they be introduced into our community at some point in the future,” the news release reads.
Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus often only bite during dawn and dusk hours, but the Aedes aegypti mosquito flies and bites both day and night. The best way to prevent disease is to prevent mosquito bites, the news release reads.
Residents in the area should cover their skin with DEET repellent to ward off any potential biters.