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Utah health officials report first fatal West Nile Virus case of 2019

By Carter Williams, | Updated - Oct 2nd, 2019 @ 1:00pm | Posted - Oct 2nd, 2019 @ 12:38pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials say they have received the first fatal human case of West Nile Virus this year.

In its weekly report released on Saturday, the Utah Department of Health reported that an individual 65 years or older died from the virus. The death was reported sometime between Sept. 22 and Saturday.

Details about the individual, including where he or she was from, weren’t immediately released.

Utah's first human case of the virus this year was reported in August, when individuals in Salt Lake and Southwest Health District contracted the virus. Since then, the department reports there have been 19 total human cases and three animal cases in the state this year.

Five human cases have been reported in southwestern Utah, while four have been reported in Davis County Health Department. In addition, officials have detected the virus more than 250 mosquito pools throughout the state this year.

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

The state has reported a few fatal cases over the past few years. In 2018, the Utah Health Department reported one West Nile-related death. In 2017, Hillcreast High School football coach Cazzie Brown died from complications after contracting West Nile virus.

To avoid the virus spread by mosquitos, the CDC recommends that people use insect repellent that contains DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and to empty out stagnant water from objects like buckets and birdbaths once a week.

Carter Williams

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