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West Nile Virus increases with warmer winters

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – The West Nile Virus was on the decline for five years, but the number of mosquito-borne infections resurged last summer and now a new study is tying the increase to warmer winters.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – The West Nile Virus was on the decline for five years, but the number of mosquito-borne infections resurged last summer and now a new study is tying the increase to warmer winters.

Spending time outdoors this summer will mean spending time with mosquitoes. Last year was the second largest year for West Nile Virus in the U.S with over 5,200 human cases.

Dr. Susan Rehm from the Cleveland Clinic said, "Global warming, climate change may be having an impact because the warmer winters. That means that there are more mosquitoes in the following year."

Here in Utah the team at the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District is collecting the blood suckers and testing them for the deadly virus.

Sammie Dickson told ABC 4 Utah, "Last year we had five human cases we had 1 death. This year no human cases so far in Utah."

In southern Utah, in Washington County, there have been 16 mosquito pools, or samples, that have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

Dickson says there are only two types of mosquitoes that spread the disease, those mosquitoes from the marsh, and the mosquitoes that breed around your home.

In order to keep their population down you have to make sure there's no breeding grounds around your property. With all the rain we've been seeing, it's something you're going to want to check on often.

Dickson said, "If you have any buckets, tires, wading pools, ornamental pools, bird baths or those type of things, the water needs to be changed once a week."

The West Nile transmitting mosquitoes don't bite during the day, only after dusk. Dickson says we're just getting into the worst part of the season. Here in the next couple of weeks we could see the human cases of West Nile start to double.
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