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Mosquito pool tests positive for West Nile in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY— West Nile is back in Utah. On Monday, the TriCounty Health Department, serving Uintah, Duchesne, and Daggett counties, said a mosquito pool tested positive for the West Nile Virus.  It’s the first this summer in Utah. Ute Indian Tribe Mosquito Abatement says the pool is in the Uinta Basin, the positive sample coming from a water body in the Thunder Ridge area.

There is no human or animal case of West Nile Virus yet. In an emailed statement, Hannah Rettler, an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) says we’ll likely see more mosquito activity soon.

“Just because no human cases have been reported doesn’t mean mosquitoes aren’t active. Taking simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites is the best way to reduce your risk for infection,” Rettler said. 

Precautions the UDOH recommend:

  • Wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors and use an insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET, which is safe to use during pregnancy. Repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months of age.
  • The hours from dusk to dawn are peak mosquito biting times. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during the evening or early morning.
  • Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Remove any puddles of water including pet dishes, flowerpots, wading and swimming pools, buckets, tarps and tires.
  • Report bodies of stagnant water to your local Mosquito Abatement District (MAD). Visit http://www.umaa.org/ for a list of MADs.
  • Keep doors, windows and screens in good condition and make sure they fit tightly. 
  • Consult with an immunization travel clinic before traveling to areas that may have mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika or dengue fever and take the necessary precautions.

 Last year in Utah, there were 21 confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus throughout the state, including two people who passed away due to the virus, according to UDOH.