On Aug. 16, Salt Lake County health officials announced the first human case of West Nile virus infection in the state for 2016. Locally, health officials from Davis County and Hill AFB have confirmed the presence of the WNV in a few mosquito specimens collected this year.
Due to this potential health risk, Public Health has recommended that Hill AFB use the additional prevention method of fogging on base – twice a week – to assist in reducing the adult mosquito population. Fogging will occur around the “Duck Pond” area, and will occur late in the evening.
West Nile Virus was first identified in the U.S. in 1999, and in Utah beginning in August 2003. Since that time, mosquitoes carrying this virus have been identified throughout the state every year, with just a hand full of human cases reported. In all of 2015, only eight human cases were reported in the state.
What is West Nile Virus? West Nile Virus is vector borne disease that is commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. The virus is carried by mosquitoes and birds. Infected birds that develop high enough levels of the virus in their bloodstream pass the virus to mosquitoes once bitten. These infected mosquitoes may also bite other mammals such as horses or humans. However, horses or humans do not develop high enough levels of the virus in their bloodstream to pass on to other biting mosquitoes. Mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active between dusk and dawn. There are currently no medications or vaccines to prevent the virus.
What are the Signs & Symptoms? According to the Center for Disease Control, 70-80 percent of people who become infected with West Nile do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop signs and symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Some of the more severe neurological illness can include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. If you suspect that you have symptoms of the West Nile Virus, contact your healthcare provider right away.
How can you protect yourself from Mosquitoes? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Weber County Mosquito Abatement, recommend the following protective measures:
1. Use insect repellent that contains DEET.
2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants from dusk to dawn.
3. Remove standing water from around yards and homes.
4. Make sure windows, doors and screens fit tightly without holes.
5. Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pretreated clothing.
For more information on West Nile Virus, please contact the Community Health office of Public Health at 777-7934 or view these helpful links below.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html
Utah Department of Health- http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/WNV/