This past weekend marked the beginning of the annual summer vacation season. More Utahns will be spending time outdoors and the chance of getting mosquito bites will increase therefore, the risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus will also increase.
The virus has not been detected in Utah, but as a precaution, the Utah Department of Health is urging Utahns to fight the bite by following the preventative steps to reduce the risk of being infected with the disease.
West Nile virus is rare, but if a Carbon County resident has symptoms including high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, they should contact a health care provider immediately.
Although anyone can be infected and become ill, serious illness is more common in people over the age of 50.
To reduce the risk of becoming infected with the virus, these tips should be followed.
Use mosquito repellents that contain DEET when doing any outdoor activity. To ensure safety, follow the label instructions carefully.
Adults should use repellents containing DEET at 30 to 35 percent concentration. Children two to 12 should use repellents containing 10 percent or less DEET.
Do not use repellent on children under the age of two.
Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
Use extreme caution while outdoors between dusk and dawn. This is when the mosquitos are most active.
Carbon County residents may also reduce the number of mosquitos in their yard by eliminating common insect attractions.
Make sure screen doors and window screens are in good condition.
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened sturcture and protect small babies at all times.
Clean out leaf-clogged gutters and repair leaky faucets and sprinklers.
Eliminate standing water sources around housing areas including water in old tires, cans, birdbaths and poorly kept swimming pools.
Keep weeds and tall grass cut short. Adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.
As Utah residents enjoy the outdoors, the health department also urges residents to watch for dead birds.
The virus spreads from bird-to-bird by mosquitoes. Many birds can become infected with the virus and not become sick while others often die when they become infected with the disease explained the health agency.
If a dead bird is sighted, Carbon County residents are encouraged to contact the local health department for further information.
The health agency reminds residents to never touch a dead bird or animal with bare or unprotected hands.
Some birds may be collected and tested for the virus.