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Protect your family from WNV this holiday weekend

PROVO, Utah (July 22, 2011) - - Although West Nile Virus (WNV) hasn't yet been detected in the county, Utah County Health officials stress the importance of covering up and wearing insect repellent with DEET when going outside at night.

"With all the wet, then warm weather, we have a huge explosion of mosquitos in the county," said Lance Madigan, Utah County Health Department public information officer. "We haven't detected virus yet, however we want to be sure individuals are protecting themselves and their families."

This is especially important during the holiday weekend. "It is easy to forget the mosquito repellent during evening parties, fireworks and other activities, but you don't want to leave you or loved one's unprotected," said Madigan.

For their part, Madigan explained Utah County mosquito abatement staff was out fogging nightly, and have scheduled for spraying by airplane along Utah Lake shore. "It is hard for us to get ground vehicles in there," said Madigan. "But we have had a lot of success in past years with aerial spraying. We have the plane come in, and we see the numbers of mosquitos caught in traps drop significantly over the next few days."

Madigan said that while spraying by Utah County Mosquito Abatement staff does help reduce the number of mosquitos in an area, personal vigilance is the key to preventing spread of the virus. Prevention measures include:

  • 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.
  • Eliminate standing water in tires or similar water-holding containers as these may serve as mosquito breeding sites. Change the water in birdbaths at least weekly.

Humans (among other animals) can catch West Nile Virus when an infected mosquito bites them. "Since there is no treatment for West Nile, prevention is the best tool we have," said Madigan.

For information about WNV or Utah County mosquito abatement efforts, please call 801-851-7637.

The Utah County Health Department seeks to promote health, and prevent avoidable disease and injury by monitoring the health of our community, and assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. For details about UCHD programs or services, please visit www.UtahCountyHealth.org or call 801-851-7000. Or you can follow the UCHD at Twitter or be a fan on Facebook.