Second positive West Nile virus test prompts more fogging

A second positive test for West Nile virus was detected in another species of mosquito, compelling the Moab Mosquito Abatement District to resume chemical fogging Tuesday evening.

District Manager Libby Nance in an email said the species, Culex erythrothorax, live in a habitat that features “large permanent swamps with heavy bulrush vegetation,” which she noted defines the Matheson Welands Preserve. The first mosquito was Culex tarsalis, the primary carrier of the virus, said Nance.

The positive result came from traps collected July 23-23. It’s important to note no mosquitoes sampled from traps outside of the sloughs have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to Nance. Those areas include the Steenville, Park and Westwood neighborhoods, which Nance said will be retested this week.

Despite a significant reduction in mosquitoes, Nance encourages residents to continue to protect themselves by wearing the appropriate skin-covering clothing and using an EPA-approved repellent, especially between 8 p.m. and midnight, and at dawn “when vector species are looking to feed.” Senior citizens and young children are at the highest risk, said Nance, while healthy adults face, in general, low “risk of coming down with the neuro-invasive disease.”

Rumors of sick people are false

Nance said there were rumors that at least two people with the virus were admitted to Moab Regional Hospital. MRH Director Jennifer Sadoff told Nance they were unfounded. “We have had zero positive tests for West Nile at the hospital,” Nance quoted Sadoff. “We have zero inpatients with West Nile virus. People are welcome to share that information far and wide. “ Doctor and staff are fully aware of the virus’ symptoms and presence in the community, said Nance.

Spraying, fogging working

Nance said counts are low for nuisance and vector species – so-called because they carry disease from one organism to another. In this case, they are the vector between birds with West Nile virus and humans.

Thirteen samples will be sent to the Utah Public Health Lab and the results will be posted online at www.grandcountyutah.net.

In the meantime, the detection of the virus trumps low counts and fogging efforts will focus on the wetlands and the areas behind the large hotels that abut them, said Nance.