Mosquito abatement centers across the state of Utah have been trapping and testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus throughout the months of June and July and officials said a pool of mosquitoes in Draper was the first to test positive.
Nicholas Rupp, a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department, said it is no surprise that mosquitoes are beginning to test positive, as this is the time of year when the virus is found.
Rupp said the mosquito-born illness does not cause serious harm for most people, but less than one percent of people infected will develop a serious neurologic illness, which can result in death.
Although West Nile Virus can be fatal, Rupp said Utahns should not worry because the virus can be prevented.
“You need to wear mosquito repellant,” Rupp said. “They need to make sure their screens are in good repair so they stay out of homes. Empty standing water that might be in their yards to prevent places that mosquitos like to breed. Cut down long grasses and weeds, that’s where adult mosquitoes like to hide in the heat of the day, in those grasses and weeds where it’s a little longer and cooler.”
Rupp said the amount of mosquitoes with West Nile Virus is pretty consistent throughout Utah and the western United States. But he says with Utah’s first positive tests to be found in Draper, all Salt Lake County residents should take extra precaution.
“Mosquitoes can fly several miles, so just because we found the pool in Draper, doesn't mean that those mosquitoes are only in Draper,” Rupp said. “At this point, they could be, you know, throughout Salt Lake County. It just so happens that we found the pool in Draper ... So be vigilant in protecting yourself from mosquito bites so we don't end up with any human cases.”