As West Nile virus spreads across the country, Utah health officials are advising residents to use bug repellant this holiday weekend. So far three cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Utah. Two were contracted out of state, but one was caught in Box Elder County. JoDee Baker is an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health. She says West Nile has been detected in a number of mosquito pools around the state.
“The nation is seeing a dramatic increase in cases from this time last year. Utah only has 3 cases, but that doesn’t mean that the risk is not there,” said Baker, “People definitely need to wear mosquito repellant containing DEET, still follow those kinds of precautions. Utah is at no less risk than any other state.”
Baker credits Utah’s Mosquito Abatement Association for keeping the state’s infection rates down. She says consistent spraying in areas where there is standing water has prevented Utah from having the same kind of large outbreaks that other states have seen. But, she cautions, Utahns still need to protect themselves.