By Myrna Trauntvein
Juab County, thus far, has not found any of the
mosquitoes trapped in the county to be infected with West
Nile Virus, though some of the type which carry the disease
have been trapped.
Mike Seely, Juab County Administrator, said that Mike
Keyte, county mosquito abatement director, had also been to
the West Desert, as well as to other areas in Juab County
where the insects might breed.
However, mosquitoes in Utah's most populous city, Salt
Lake, have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District
announced Wednesday, Aug. 18, that the virus was found in
four mosquito pools sampled on Aug. 11. The samples were
taken from wetland areas within the city limits. No infected
mosquitoes were found in the samples taken from the city's
more populated areas.
The mosquitoes are known to travel as many as 13 miles
in the course of a week.
Seely said that Juab County obtained a $55,000 grant
to help the county develop a mosquito abatement program.
That money is being used to help identify areas where the
pesky insects might live and to obtain the needed equipment
to do the job.
Seely wrote the grant so the county could begin a
program which it has never had before. The impetus for the
grant is the fact that the West Nile Virus is now a health
concern in Utah.
The Millard County director has work with Keyte to
find the sites where the mosquitoes might be located and to
help train Keyte. Millard has a long standing abatement
"Samples of mosquitoes from Juab County and been and
will continue to be collected and sent to the state where
they are tested," said Seely.
The grant must be matched by Juab County with the
county putting up approximately $29,000, said Seely.
Seely and Keyte attended a training session in Logan
and the county has been purchasing needed equipment. Part of
that equipment has included a fogger, chemical to be used in
the fogger, and a Polaris 6 X 6 to mount the fogger on.
All of those funds have come from the grant.
A trailer is also needed to haul the chemical on from
place to place as the mosquitoes are sprayed.
Commissioners agreed to allow the purchasing of needed
equipment from the grant money.
Seely said Keyte had been training with other
abatement directors from other areas and was a good choice
for the job.
"We have to work with the DWR (Division of Wildlife
Services) in determining which chemical is to be used in
some areas," said Seely.
That is because sensitive species such as the Spotted
Frog and the Least Chub need to be protected if the DWR has
identified them as being located in any of the wetland areas
where mosquitoes like to breed.
West Nile Virus has been detected now in Box
Elder, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, Duchesne, Grand, Washington
and Uintah counties.
In addition, the West has been especially hard-hit
this year. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) figures indicate there are, to date, 102 cases in
California, 44 in Colorado and 274 cases in Arizona.
All the Utah mosquitoes that
tested positive are Culex tarsalis, which only bite between
dusk and dawn. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak mosquito
biting times for many species of mosquitoes. Take extra care
to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and
early morning or consider avoiding outdoor activities during
In addition to killing the mosquitoes and removing
habitat, the best thing local residents can do, according to
The West Nile Virus home page of the CDC, an agency of the
US government, at
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/q&a.htm, is to use
their slogan and "Fight The Bite!"
When dealing with West Nile virus, prevention is the
"Fighting mosquito bites reduces your risk of getting
this disease, along with others that mosquitoes can carry.
Take the common sense steps below to reduce your risk:
*avoid bites and illness;
*clean out the mosquitoes from the places where you
work and play;
*help your community control the disease."
To date, the state of Utah total includes five
infected humans, 33 virus-carrying mosquito batches, one
dead bird and three sentinel chickens with the virus.
According to CDC information, if someone is bitten by
an infected mosquito, there's only a 20 percent chance that
West Nile Virus will develop. The chance that any one person
is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite remains
low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for
people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can
become ill. Few die.
Most will have symptoms similar to flu, but in a
smaller number of cases, individuals will develop
Weather has some impact on mosquitoes, but the current
cooler, rainier weather is just what mosquitoes like. When
it's extremely hot, mosquitoes die quickly.
However, approximately 10 days after a rainstorm, the
number of mosquitoes increases significantly.
And C. tarsalis has a long life-span. Many of those
now alive will be alive next spring.
In mid-September, the mosquitoes will stop biting
people and start drinking nectar and fruit to build up their
own fat so that they can lay low over the winter.
Contrary to popular belief, cold weather doesn't kill
them. The numbers go down because as it gets colder they
start to over winter.
The CDC found that West Nile virus activity occurred
much earlier this year than in the past.
They suggest that everyone get double protection: wear
long sleeves during peak mosquito biting hours, and spray
DEET repellent directly onto clothes. Mosquitoes may
bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with
repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra
Look for: N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide on the label.
Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to
skin. Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin
under your clothing.
Apply directly to exposed skin when going outdoors.
Even a short time being outdoors can be long enough to get a
Drain standing water from around the home because
mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water.Limit the number
of places around the home for mosquitoes to breed by getting
rid of items that hold water.
Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them
outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and
doors. Offer to help neighbors whose screens might be in bad
Report dead birds to authorities. Dead birds may be a
sign that West Nile virus is circulating between birds and
the mosquitoes in an area. Over 130 species of birds are
known to have been infected with West Nile virus, though not
all infected birds will die. It's important to remember that
birds die from many other causes besides West Nile
"By reporting dead birds to state and local health
departments, you can play an important role in monitoring
West Nile virus," said CDC officials.
A source for information about pesticides and
repellents is the National Pesticide Information Center,
which also operates a toll-free information line:
1-800-858-7378 (check their Web site for hours).