Abatement efforts increase for West Nile in Utah

West Nile Virus has made it to Utah. The Utah Department of Health says the virus is alive and well after mosquitoes in Washington County tested positive.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - West Nile Virus has made it to Utah. The Utah Department of Health says the virus is alive and well after mosquitoes in Washington County tested positive. ABC 4 Utah talked to experts on the virus to find out how they are stepping up efforts to protect you.

Sammie Dickson from the Salt Lake Mosquito Abatement District says Mosquitoes are out in large numbers and efforts to prevent West Nile Virus has increased. Dickson says "There are two types of mosquitoes that will transmit West Nile Virus and were working hard to control those.”

Dickson tells ABC 4 Utah since West Nile Virus hit the U.S. in 1999 they have been doing large scale efforts since 2003. He says they start early in the year opposed to waiting for the mosquito population from building up.

One way the Salt Lake City mosquito abatement district is stepping up their efforts is by setting up traps. Abatement teams then catch the little guys and send them to state lab for testing. Another way, abatement bicycle teams, every month these teams go out and treat every catch basin in every neighborhood throughout the city.

As for prevention Jodee Baker from the Utah Department of Health says being cautious is key. She says, “It's always a good idea to make sure people take the proper precautions to protect themselves from getting mosquito bites. For example, wearing mosquito repellent with deet from dusk to dawn is a good idea. If they can do those things then they should be able to enjoy outdoor activities,"

Baker says humans have tested positive for several years and even though no humans have tested positive this year it's only a matter of time.
She also says while anybody can be infected if bitten children under the age of two, the elderly, or women who are pregnant could become seriously ill.

The Department of Health also said some additional measures you can take to prevent West Nile is to get rid of any stagnant water you may have outside your home and to also keep in mind that hundreds of these mosquitoes can hatch inside the size of a small Pepsi lid.
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