The Tooele Valley Mosquito Abatement District announced Monday that two more mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile virus after samples were analyzed by the Utah State Public Health Laboratory.
That brings the total number of positive tests for the season in Tooele Valley to seven.
Scott Bradshaw, district manager, said the two most recent samples were collected from the Benson Gristmill area in Stansbury Park on Aug. 21. Five mosquito pools in the gristmill area have now tested positive for the virus.
Two other mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile from samples taken on Aug. 6. One pool was near the Walmart Distribution Center in Grantsville and the other near Ritchie Brothers in Lake Point.
Mosquito pools contain between 10 to 100 mosquitoes.
West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes from the Culex family during normal blood-feeding, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile do not develop any symptoms, while about one-in-five infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash, according to CDC.
Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months, according to CDC.
But one-in-150 who are infected can develop a severe illness that affects the central nervous system, according to CDC.
“We have had individuals who tested positive (for West Nile virus) throughout the years, and some who have had serious neurological symptoms,” said Louise Ekenstam, an epidemiologist with the Tooele County Health Department. “It’s scary to think that this can come from a mosquito bite.
“There is not a specific treatment, or no vaccine to treat West Nile virus. The best thing we have is to limit the risks and keep mosquitoes from breeding around our homes,” she said.
The Salt Lake County Health Department announced Wednesday the state’s first West Nile-related death for 2018. According to a news release, the deceased individual, who was over 65 and suffered from other health concerns, passed away two weeks ago.
The news release further revealed that the three Salt Lake County mosquito abatement districts had detected West Nile virus in 30 different mosquito pools.
A Facebook post from the Box Elder Mosquito Abatement District announced that the district was notified by the Bear River Health Department about a human case of West Nile virus in Box Elder County.
The post also announced that 16 mosquito pool samples had tested positive for West Nile virus this season in Box Elder County.
Ekenstam said that the public should take measures to limit the risk of exposure to West Nile virus.
She provided the following tips to minimize exposure risk:
Use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus; follow package directions about application.
After dusk, wear long sleeves and pants
Drain standing water in yards (old tires, potted plant trays, pet dishes, toys, buckets, etc.).
Keep roof gutters clear of debris.
Clean and stock garden ponds with mosquito-eating fish or mosquito dunks.
Ensure door and window screens are in good condition so mosquitoes cannot get inside.
Keep weeds and tall grass cut short; adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.
Ekenstam said major protection is needed from dusk to dawn.