SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — An adult in Salt Lake County is in the hospital with a “more severe” form of West Nile virus, and officials say it’s the first human case of the disease this year in the county .
The Salt Lake County Health Department said the affected person was hospitalized, but no further information was released about the person’s identity, including their age, gender and any other medical complications they may have.
The human case is not the first in Utah this year. Two human cases have been reported in the TriCounty Health District and one in the Weber-Morgan Health District.
West Nile virus can cause mild to severe illness that leads to death, and many infected people don’t even know they have the disease. Officials say less than 1% of infected people will develop a severe form of the disease, which can lead to “long-term debilitating complications or death.”
Last year, five people in Utah contracted the disease and all recovered. In 2021, 28 people were infected and three died from the disease.
Mosquito clusters across the state tested positive for West Nile virus this year, and 77 clusters tested positive in Salt Lake County alone.
The term mosquito pool refers to a group of mosquitoes intentionally captured and tested in a trap and is not related to actual pools of water, officials explained.
As the state has been plagued by viruses this summer, Salt Lake County health officials are reminding Utahns to use caution when recreating outdoors.
“There are increasing numbers of mosquitoes carrying the disease,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of SLCoHD, “so it is now especially important for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly in the hours between from dusk to dawn.”
Mosquito season will continue until Utah experiences its first hard freeze, so until then, officials urge using mosquito repellent, wearing protective clothing, keeping standing water drained and windows and doors closed in homes.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headaches and body aches, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness or seizures. If you think you are infected, contact your healthcare provider.