First human case of West Nile Virus reported by the Health Department

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The Salt Lake County Health Department has reported the first human case of West Nile Virus this year. It is the first case both in Utah and in the country. Health officials are reminding people to protect themselves against mosquitoes even after Labor Day.

“Labor Day may signal the symbolic end of summer, but it isn’t the end of the WNV season,” explained Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD Medical Officer. “Until we see the first hard frost, mosquitoes will still be active and biting, and people should continue to practice prevention behaviors until then.”

The victim is diagnosed with West Nile fever, which is a less severe form of the virus.

Symptoms of the illness appear within 3-14 days and include fever, headache, and body aches. More severe infections may include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, and muscle weakness or convulsions.

The virus is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito and is not transmitted person to person. Health officials offer these tips to avoid mosquitoes:

·         Use mosquito repellents that contain DEET or picaridin when outdoors from dusk to dawn.

·         Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.

·         Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.

·         Draining standing water around your house to reduce the number of mosquitoes (old tires, buckets, wading pools, etc.).

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