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Wet Spring Could Increase Risk of West Nile Virus

Wet Spring Could Increase Risk of West Nile Virus

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Health officials say this year's wet spring could increase the risk for West Nile Virus.

The Utah Department of Health officials say the heavy snow pack has water managers warning of high runoff levels, which may create more habitat for mosquitoes.

Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Lisa Wyman says this year's wet conditions have NOT been present in previous West Nile seasons. Last year, 12 Utah residents were infected with the virus.

Wyman said wet weather, or increased runoff, is not enough to determine whether there will be an increase of the virus. However, if there are more mosquitoes, more people are likely to be bitten and some of those mosquitoes could carry the virus.

To combat the virus, health officials urge residents to eliminate standing water around their home. Also, people should use repellent with DEET when they're outside between dusk and dawn.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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