August 16, 2016
SLCoHD Reports First Human WNV Case of the Year
SALT LAKE COUNTY—The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) has announced the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the county and in Utah this year. The infected individual was diagnosed with neuroinvasive West Nile virus, a more severe form of the disease, and remains hospitalized.
officials say this is a reminder that the mosquito-spread disease that Utahns
should worry about more than Zika is WNV. In the decade since WNV has been
circulating in Utah there have been 349 people known to be infected, 9 of whom
WNV can cause mild to severe illness and many people may not even know they have been infected. It is estimated that less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop neuroinvasive disease, which can result in debilitating long-term complications or death. Symptoms of WNV infection appear within 3 to 14 days and include fever, headache and body aches. More severe infections may include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors and muscle weakness or convulsions.
over age 50 and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of
illness due to WNV, but anyone can become ill from the bite of an infected
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection other than to treat symptoms. If you think you have WNV infection, contact your health care provider.
much of the attention on Zika, it is important to remember the more prevalent
threat of West Nile virus (WNV) in Utah,” explained Dr. Dagmar Vitek, SLCoHD
medical director. “The mosquitoes that transmit Zika do not currently live in
Utah, but two mosquito species that carry and transmit WNV do.”
Although few mosquitoes actually carry the virus, it is important to minimize your exposure during mosquito season:
- Use mosquito repellents that contain DEET or picaridin when outdoors from dusk to dawn.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
- Make sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry.
- Drain standing water around your house to reduce the number of mosquitoes (old tires, buckets, wading pools, etc.).