ST. GEORGE – The Southwest Utah Public Health Department and the Southwest Mosquito Abatement & Control District are reporting the presence of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in Washington County.
Positive test results were obtained from mosquitoes trapped recently in the area. “This is the first positive West Nile Virus result in Utah this year,” said Lisa Starr, RN, SWUPHD Surveillance Nurse. “That’s not unusual due to our warmer climate and longer mosquito season. We want to remind people to take action to prevent contact with mosquitoes, which is the main source for human infection from this illness. Fortunately, cases of human infection in our district have been minimal in recent years. The last human case of West Nile Virus was in Kane County in 2010, and we also had a few cases in 2005.”
Most people who are infected will not experience any illness. Twenty percent of people who become infected with West Nile Virus will experience symptoms including sudden fever, fatigue, aches and pains, headache, and rash.
“About 1 percent of those infected will develop serious illness,” Starr said. “You should get medical attention if there is sudden onset of fever and/or you develop neck stiffness, disorientation, or paralysis.”
To help prevent mosquito bites:
- Use repellent containing 30 percent DEET
- Wear long pants and sleeves
- Avoid mosquito infested areas
- Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active
- Empty standing water on your property