West Nile Virus Found In 114 Mosquito Pools In Utah

Aug 9, 2021, 7:45 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2023, 10:46 am

SALT LAKE CITY — West Nile Virus is showing up earlier and in larger numbers in Utah mosquitos this year, which is drawing concern that it could soon show up in people.

Abatement districts are working to keep up, but at the same time, they’re facing problems with staffing.

Davis County has already been dealing with a staffing shortage, but now, many more districts are starting to lose their summer help as employees head back to college.

All of that is happening as the mosquito season is picking up fast.

The marshy wetlands have been blamed for the majority of the mosquitos out there.

Abatement techs said they’re keeping a close eye on bodies of water, making sure their efforts are paying off.

Workers with Salt Lake City Abatement keep a close eye on bodies of water for mosquitos. (Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

“It’s really turned into a busy season for West Nile Virus this year,” said Dr. Greg White, assistant director at Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement.

White said the bigger concern is not so much the amount of mosquitos, but the large numbers of pools or traps that are testing positive for West Nile — 30 of them just last week.

“The season started out really warm,” he said. “We had a really warm spring, and the early summer was quite warm, and just having those warm conditions early in the season can help the virus.”

In that same week, Davis County Abatement found 55 positive pools, some of the highest rates Director Gary Hatch has ever seen.

“To find that many in one week is very unusual, and we’ve been already finding a great number of pools,” he said. “We’re well over a hundred positive pools for the summer so far already.”

The season is nearing its very busy peak, just as summer help starts to go away and head back to school.

Hatch was already dealing with a staffing shortage, getting about half the number of employees he would have liked, and right now, they may need the help the most.

“We’re battling the over one-inch rains that we had a week ago that are causing the flood-water mosquitos to really come out in big numbers right now,” he said.

Salt Lake City is starting to lose their seasonal help, too, adding to the reasons why all of us need to do our part.

Hatch and White said we’re going to start seeing more of the mosquitos that bit all day long very soon.

They said to use repellant and wear long sleeves if you can stand it, and clear out any standing water around your home.

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West Nile Virus Found In 114 Mosquito Pools In Utah