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Utah counties find West Nile virus in mosquito populations

August 26, 2019
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Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines mosquitos Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Salt Lake City. A number of counties in Utah are reporting mosquito populations carrying West Nile virus following a spring with weather conditions that allowed the pests to flourish. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines mosquitos Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Salt Lake City. A number of counties in Utah are reporting mosquito populations carrying West Nile virus following a spring with weather conditions that allowed the pests to flourish. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mosquito populations carrying West Nile virus have been found in multiple areas in Utah following a spring with weather conditions that allowed the pests to flourish.

Officials in Davis, Salt Lake, Sevier, Uintah and Weber counties have found mosquitoes with the virus, and other areas of the state are reporting higher than usual numbers of the bugs, the Deseret News reported Sunday.

The wet season combined with above-average temperatures created favorable conditions for mosquito populations.

In the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District, officials action to contain the populations early, resulting in a mosquito problem that is not as bad as expected, said Ary Faraji, an entomologist and the district’s executive director.

“All in all we are seeing average numbers,” Faraji said. “There was a lot of precipitation this season, with standing water.”

District crews have set up 40 to 60 traps weekly. The captured mosquitoes are then processed and tested in a lab.

The Cache County Mosquito Abatement District has found no signs of West Nile virus yet, but it is reporting a surge in populations.

“Our numbers have been quite substantial in the last three weeks,” district manager Richard Rigby said. “In 16 traps, I have never counted as many mosquitoes as I did two weeks ago. It is substantially higher than in past years.”

West Nile virus can cause symptoms such as fever, headache, drowsiness and nausea. The virus can be deadly, especially in vulnerable populations.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

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