West Nile Virus Now in 3 Utah Counties and Likely Spreading

Jul 17, 2018, 6:00 PM | Updated: 9:20 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The West Nile Virus has arrived in northern Utah for the season, so it’s time to cover up from dusk to dawn when you’re outside.

Mosquito abatement crews confirmed the virus in mosquitoes in Box Elder, Davis and Uintah Counties this week, and it’s likely more widespread. Mosquitoes and birds, which carry the virus, can carry it many miles.

So far, Utah has no reports of cases in people.

Mosquitoes in traps July 17, 2017

“We now know that we’ve got West Nile Virus circulating in mosquitoes,” said Rebecca Ward, health educator, Bureau of Epidemiology, Utah Department of Health. “We know that mosquitoes are active, and those are the first ones that we’ve seen this year.”

West Nile Virus first arrived in Utah in 2006. It has resurfaced each year since. Mosquito abatement districts in each of our communities track the insects and spray for them when and where they can.

“Science drives every component of our operation,” said Ary Faraji, executive director, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District.

Mosquitoes being tested for West Nile Virus

He took KSL-TV to see workers Tuesday with the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District in duck clubs and marshlands on the edge of the Great Salt Lake where mosquitoes thrive.


“We want to know where the mosquitoes are and how many mosquitoes are located in those locations,” said Faraji.

Workers set dozens of traps throughout the city and marshlands, and test the insects for West Nile Virus.

Mosquito abatement crews trap the insects near the Great Salt Lake July 17, 2017

“Our job is to really ensure that we are controlling as many of those mosquitoes as possible in this immense wetland habitat. So, that way, they are not going to migrate towards the city,” he said.

Wednesday morning, crews applied a bacterial insecticide on a marshland to kill the mosquitoes in the larval stage.

Last year, Utah had the highest number of West Nile cases in a decade: 62 people infected, five people killed.

People are typically infected by the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus that it picked up from an infected bird.

The best ways to protect yourself are to wear long sleeves, long pants and insect repellent with DEET. Also, dump any standing water in your yard.

“We know that mosquitoes breed in water,” said Ward. “So, you want to reduce the standing water around your home, stagnant pools.”

Faraji says it’s too early to tell whether West Nile this year will be as bad as last year. Heat, humidity, and precipitation will determine mosquito activity through the rest of the summer.

“I wish we could predict what mosquito abundance or virus activity is going to be like. But, we just can’t do that.”

There are no vaccines or treatments for the virus, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with the virus do not show symptoms. Only about one in 150 people who contract the virus come down with a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventio...
Jen Christensen, CNN

‘You do not want this’ virus: California man with monkeypox urges others to get vaccinated

Matt Ford edits videos for a living, so it wasn't a stretch for him to put one together for TikTok. But his latest post wasn't a crazy dance or a video about how to peel a banana the right way. It's based on his own experience with monkeypox.
2 days ago
There are five kinds of rattlesnakes that populate Utah (DWR)...
Shara Park and Larry D. Curtis, KSL TV

Utahns experiencing close encounters of the rattlesnake kind

As you make plans to head to the great outdoors this holiday weekend, you may want to heed the warning about rattlesnakes.
3 days ago
Bats are the leading cause of rabies deaths in people in the United States. Rabid bats have been fo...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

State confirms rabies found in three Utah bats

The state of Utah confirmed on Thursday three cases of rabies so far this summer. The cases were found in bats in Salt Lake County, Weber County, and Washington County.
3 days ago
LGBTQ teens at an Encircle activity....
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Parents’ support key to mental health among LGBTQ+ youth, experts say

Nearly 20 percent of adults in the U.S. live with a mental health condition. In the LGBTQ+ community, that number is three times higher. Experts say family support is crucial to an adolescents’ mental health.
4 days ago
The American Heart Association added sleep duration to its cardiovascular health checklist. It's a ...
Megan Marples, CNN

Sleep duration matters for heart health, according to new recommendations

If you needed another reason to get enough sleep, here it is: It may help your heart health.
4 days ago
FILE: A woman with an  iPhone...
BARBARA ORTUTAY AP Technology Writer

EXPLAINER: Data privacy concerns emerge after Roe decision

With abortion now or soon to be illegal in over a dozen states and severely restricted in many more, Big Tech companies that collect personal details of their users are facing new calls to limit that tracking and surveillance.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
West Nile Virus Now in 3 Utah Counties and Likely Spreading