Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Jed Boal Reporting It's wet and cool this evening, but warm weather will be back soon and mosquitoes will invade our outdoor fun. The state health department wants us all to understand the risks of West Nile Virus.
It's not a matter of if, but when West Nile Virus will arrive in Utah this summer. It showed up last year and infected mosquitoes will be back, peaking mid-summer. There’s no need to panic, health officials simply want us to be ready.
We'll see the TV spots and hear the radio spots all summer. The state health department says West Nile Virus prevention is up to all of us.
Jana Kettering, Utah Dept. of Health: Education, prevention and awareness is the key to saving lives this year."
There was one confirmed case of West Nile in Utah last year, but in Colorado 300 people were infected and 60 died.
Jana Kettering: “In other states’ experience, the second year is the worst, the worst outbreak."
Mosquito Abatement says some mosquitoes are already out in small numbers on the marshes. Expect them in your backyard soon.
Sam Dickson, SLC Mosquito Abatement: “It's warm enough in the evening, people are outside and the mosquitoes are starting to move. Maybe in another week or so."
Mosquitoes don't only bite us on camping trips; they attack in our back yards and on walks in the park. We should all start using repellents with DEET when we go out in the evening.
DEET doesn't kill mosquitoes, but it does make us a much less appetizing meal. So the slogan you'll hear again and again is, ‘Protect yourself from dusk to dawn, put the DEET on.’
Adults should pick repellents with a DEET concentration of 35-percent, 10-percent DEET for children two months to 12 years.
Everyone is at risk, but those over 50 are 10 times more vulnerable to severe disease and death from West Nile.
For your lawn, many pesticides are environmentally friendly. More importantly, don't let puddles linger on your lawn and watch how you water.
Darren Hall, Western Garden Centers: “If we water deeply and infrequently, it not only wastes less water, but also puddles to drain so mosquitoes aren't being produced."
Most important, don't let West Nile keep you inside--get out enjoy yourself, just put on the repellent and keep it handy.