PROVO — West Nile virus has been found in Utah County, the latest in a string of places along the Wasatch Front where the public is encouraged to take precautions to avoid the disease.
The infected mosquitoes were found near the Footprinter Park area, a public sports park with a pond, located at 1350 W. 1150 South, in southwestern Utah County. The Utah County Health Department’s Mosquito Abatement District has tested 1,911 pools of mosquitoes this season and this is the first with positive detection.
The agency has increased spraying in the area, by fogger truck and plane, after sundown for the best possible control of the mosquito population.
While mosquitoes have tested positive for the potentially deadly virus, there have been no reported human cases, the health department reports.
“This is a great reminder to residents of the importance of taking steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes,” Ralph Clegg, executive director of the Utah County Health Department, said.
It is recommended that the public drain any standing water, avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, dress in long sleeves and pants, use repellent that contains DEET and keep doors and screens in good working condition.
West Nile virus can cause mild to severe illness, including going undetected in most people. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus — through a bite from an infected mosquito — will develop long-term complications or die from the disease.
Symptoms typically appear within three days to two weeks and include fever, headache and body aches. More severe cases exhibit neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and a comatose state, according to the health department.
West Nile was first detected in Utah in 2003.
In the last week, more than 37 mosquito pools across the state have tested positive — in Uintah, Duchesne, Box Elder, Davis, Weber, Washington, Salt Lake, Cache and Utah counties. The Utah Department of Health reports 162 total positive pools across the state for 2019.
As of Aug. 20, 41 states have reported West Nile virus activity, including 27 states where human cases have been reported. Four human cases have been reported in Utah, in Washington, Moab and Salt Lake counties and the Uinta Basin. Three of those are suffering neuroinvasive symptoms, including meningitis-related infections. No deaths from West Nile have been reported in Utah.