Prepare For West Nile Virus Season

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) wants to remind everyone to “Fight the Bite!” when spending time outdoors this holiday weekend. As you spend more time outside, the risk of getting mosquito bites increases, therefore increasing your risk of West Nile virus (WNV) infection. One way to help “Fight the Bite!” is to control mosquitoes in your own backyard.

This year, protect your family from mosquito bites ― and West Nile virus ― by looking for places in your yard where mosquitoes can breed. Birdbaths, swimming pools, old tires and plant containers can all become mosquito nurseries. There are three easy things that you can do to reduce standing water and the number of mosquitoes this year – drain it, replace it or dunk it.

“Drain it” means draining unnecessary standing water. Get rid of old tires or unused items in your yard that gather water, and turn wheelbarrows or other items over so that water doesn’t collect in them.

For water in items such as birdbaths, “replace it” by draining and changing the water twice a week. Replacing the water will keep mosquito eggs from hatching in the items.

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For larger bodies of water that cannot be drained or have water easily replaced, such as stock tanks and swimming pools, you can “dunk it” by using mosquito dunks. Available at lawn and garden stores, mosquito dunks are inexpensive, harmless to pets and people, and eliminate mosquitoes before they begin biting.

To protect you and your family from the West Nile virus while enjoying the outdoors:

• Use mosquito repellents containing DEET or picaridin when outdoors from dusk to dawn.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.

“West Nile virus is something we have to deal with annually in Utah and it isn’t going away,” said JoDee Summers, Epidemiologist, UDOH. “Fortunately, last year, West Nile virus was fairly mild in Utah, with activity detected in only 14 counties.” Still, Utah had 28 human cases in 2008.

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