West Nile virus found in Syracuse mosquito pool

Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City on Aug. 26, 2019. On July 11, a mosquito pool in Syracuse tested positive for the West Nile virus.

Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City on Aug. 26, 2019. On July 11, a mosquito pool in Syracuse tested positive for the West Nile virus. (Rick Bowmer, Associated Press)

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SYRACUSE — The West Nile virus has been located in mosquitoes in Davis County, in a Syracuse mosquito pool.

The Davis County Utah Mosquito Abatement District announced Monday that a western encephalitis mosquito pool tested positive for the virus on July 11, which is often the first indication of a circulating virus in the community.

The district recommended Utahns in the area use insect repellent following instructions on the label, empty any containers holding water in their yards, avoid prolonged outdoor activities between dusk and dawn and wear long-sleeved, loose fitting and light-colored clothing.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services has not yet reported any cases of West Nile virus in humans this year.

The Mosquito Abatement District in Davis County is a public agency responsible for controlling mosquitoes and provides information and resources on disease transmission. It places surveillance traps each week to monitor conditions and identify which species are in the area.

Its website said officials test two mosquito species that can carry the West Nile virus, which is primarily a disease transferred between birds and mosquitoes but can also spread to humans and horses. Davis County has large areas that are good places for mosquito and bird interaction, so there is an increased likelihood of West Nile virus.

The organization uses an intensified integrated mosquito management approach to reduce the risk of the virus passing to the public.

"We are blessed to be able to do in-house testing for (West Nile virus). By doing testing in-house, we gain the benefit of fast and direct notification of positive mosquitoes, usually within 24 hours of the mosquito being trapped. With the results being available so quickly we can more efficiently activate our response to the increased risk," the district's website says.

Officials report any positive tests to the Utah Department of Health, which reports tests to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services reported five confirmed human infections and seven confirmed horse infections and the disease was detected in humans, animals or mosquitoes in eight different counties.

Symptoms of the severe form of West Nile virus include high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, disorientation and confusion. People with symptoms are encouraged to contact a health care provider immediately, according to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Most people with the virus do not develop symptoms, but about 1 in 150 people with the virus develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system, which has a 10% chance of causing death.

Tips to reduce mosquito exposure

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors and use an insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET, which is safe to use during pregnancy. Repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months of age.
  • The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning.
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Remove any puddles of water or standing water including in pet dishes, flowerpots, wading and swimming pools, buckets, tarps and tires.
  • Report bodies of stagnant water to your local Mosquito Abatement District. Visit http://www.umaa.org/ for a list of districts.
  • Keep doors, windows, and screens in good condition and make sure they fit tightly.
  • Consult with an immunization travel clinic before traveling to areas that may have mosquito-borne illnesses, such as Zika or dengue, and take the necessary precautions.

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Emily Ashcraft joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. She covers courts and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.


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