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High temperatures increase West Nile virus in mosquitoes

Utah's first human case of West Nile virus has been detected in a Utah County resident.

Mosquito pools, chickens and wild birds are testing positive throughout the state. Emery County has the state's first confirmed positive West Nile virus horse.

When West Nile virus is found in horses, it can mean an increased risk for humans too, because the virus is infecting more than just mosquitoes and birds.

The virus is normally transmitted through intravenous contact. The most common method of transmission is through mosquitoes.

Preventing mosquito bites is the way to avoid getting West Nile virus. All residents who are outside between sundown and sunup can protect themselves by:

•Using mosquito repellents that contain DEET when outdoors from dusk to dawn

•Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors

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

"WNV can affect everyone, not just the young or old. We all need to take measures to protect ourselves until the end of mosquito season, which is typically after the first hard frost in the fall," stated Brady Bradford, regional epidemiologist.

"The high temperatures we've been experiencing give us near-perfect mosquito-breeding weather," James Nielsen, Emery County's weed and mosquito abatement manager states.

One of the best ways to help contol mosquito populations is limiting standing water, where mosquitoes breed.

High temperature along with standing water shortens the developmental stage of the mosquito. Nielsen suggests individuals need to monitor standing water and contact their county's mosquito abatement program if they see mosquito larvae.

These department have the equipment and resources to help combat mosquito populations.

"Focusing on prevention can be much more effective than trying to fix the problem and interrupting the development at the larvae stage is part of the prevention," said Nielsen.

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