Don’t forget the DEET

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The Utah Mosquito Abatement Division urged Utah county members to use precautions, as recently found mosquitoes in the area tested positive for West Nile Virus on Friday.

After testing samples from traps set in the central county area, the Utah Mosquito Abatement Division discovered Culex Pipien mosquitoes in Utah County, a carrier of WNV.  Utah Mosquito Abatement Division reported that this is a species of mosquitoes that comes out in the mornings and around 8:30 p.m. Director of Utah Mosquito Abatement Division Bob Mower, warned members of Utah County to protect themselves in order to avoid another WNV breakout.

FILE - This photo combo shows, from top, a wood tick - or dog tick - clings to a pencil used for scale, in Springfield, Ill. on June 8, 2010, mosquitoes are sorted at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas on Aug. 16, 2012, and a rat wanders the subway tracks at Union Square in New York on June 15, 2010. Hantavirus, West Nile, Lyme disease and now, bubonic plague can be spread potentially by ticks, mosquitoes, and rats. (AP Photo/File)

“The mosquitoes aren’t just limited to down by the lake, they are in the valley,” Mower said. “It’s common that people can get bitten right in their own backyard, so it is necessary to take the right precautions.”

WNV is a reoccurring disease that cycles through the states every year. According to Utah Mosquito Abatement Division and health specialists, there have only been 3 cases of people in the state who have contracted WNV this year. This number is a significant downfall from 2006 in which there were 36 cases in Utah County alone.

Although Utah has not had a high rate of WNV cases this year, infectious disease specialist, Dr. Larry Ford, also advised precautions. Ford has dealt with many cases of WNV, and knows how dangerous the virus can be. Two weeks ago Ford diagnosed a patient with WNV, the third in Utah to have contracted the virus this summer.

“People usually don’t know that they have it,” Ford said. “80 percent of people show no symptoms of WNV. But once you have it, you can’t treat it; all you have is support help.”

Ford added, though extremely rare, contracting WNV through mosquitoes can be fatal and cause symptoms like persistent fevers and headaches. Ford then added to the precautions given by Utah Mosquito Abatement Division.

“The mosquitoes are out when we like to be out,” Ford said. “If you are in nature anytime during the morning or evening, wear DEET.”

Many students took the warning as good advice being that fall is a time to spend a lot of time outdoors. Kyle Roberts, a freshman from Alabama and pre-wildlife management major, said the news won’t scare him off from spending time outdoors.

“The outdoors have always seemed like an escape to me, a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of everyday life,” Roberts said. “Take precautions, but don’t it let it affect your outdoor activities. You just need to take the precautions that you need to in order to go outside–that is what I am going to do.”

Although the Utah Mosquito Abatement Division staff sprays for mosquitoes regularly, they suggested that people still take personal action in protecting themselves. UCHD also offered various recommendations in order to avoid WNV:

  • Avoid outdoor activities, such as gardening, at dusk through dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • If outside during the periods when mosquitoes are most active, cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.
  • Use mosquito repellents with DEET.  Follow product directions for children and how often it should be applied.

According to Utah Mosquito Abatement Division, other states, like Texas, have had WNV breakouts this year but Utah has not. Despite these stats, Mower advised BYU students not to get complacent.

“If there are any more of those football games late at night,” Mower said.  “Make sure to put that bug spray on.”

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