A Salt Lake County resident has become the first human West Nile virus (WNV) case in Utah in 2014, according to a Fox 13 report today. The individual is an adult age 65 or older, according to the Utah Department of Health. The case was the milder West Nile fever and not the more serious neuroinvasive variety.


Salt Lake County, Utah (in red)/David Benbennick
Salt Lake County, Utah (in red)/David Benbennick

“About three weeks ago in Salt Lake County we started seeing West Nile Virus in our mosquitoes,” Sam Dickson said, Manager of Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District. “Since then, every week since we’ve gotten more and more samples that have been positive to West Nile Virus.” To date, Salt Lake County has accounted for nearly 50% of the WNV positive mosquito pools in the state (40/83).

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.

In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

The best ways to avoid the West Nile Virus include the use mosquito repellents that contain DEET or picaridin when outdoors from dusk to dawn, wearing  long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors, making sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquito entry and draining standing water around your house to reduce the number of mosquitoes (old tires, buckets, wading pools, etc.).