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Public health department encourages residents to take steps to prevent WNV

With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, many Carbon County residents are thinking about taking advantage of the holiday to enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, boating or picnics.

However, the risk of getting West Nile virus increases along with summer temperatures and the number of mosquitoes in the Castle Valley region and at locations across Utah.

Residents venturing outdoors should remember to put mosquito repellent containing DEET into motor vehicles, backpacks or purses.

"We want people to enjoy the outdoors, but remember to take the necessary precautions to reduce your risk of being bitten," said David Cunningham, Southeastern Utah Health District director.

Other West Nile virus prevention tips include:

•Removing standing water around homes in locations such as old tires, cans, and any other sources where stagnant water accumulates.

•Making certain window screens and screen doors are in good repair.

Small holes can let mosquitoes in.

In addition to DEET, the United States Centers for Disease Control has also approved repellent containing picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus for effective protection against West Nile virus, indicated the local public health department.

West Nile virus symptoms range from mild to severe.

The symptoms typically develop between three and 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, explained the local public health department.

West Nile virus can cause severe headaches, eye pain, muscle pain and fever.

Individuals have reported severe fatigue that can last several months.

"The best way to stop the spread of West Nile is through prevention," pointed out Cunningham. "Wear mosquito repellent, especially around dawn and dusk, which are peak mosquito biting times."

For more information, Carbon County residents may contact the local health department at 637-3671.

Residents with Internet access may also visit www.health.utah.gov/wnv for additional information regarding the virus.




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