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Contact: Lori Buttars
Public Information Officer
(801) 399-7114

Press Release
September 30, 2008

West Nile Virus Strikes Ogden Valley Horse

Officials urge caution as hot weather lingers on

(Ogden, UT)  An Ogden Valley horse had to be euthanized due to complications from West Nile Virus, prompting health officials to warn residents to continue taking precautions against the mosquito-borne disease.

“The extended hot spell we are experiencing is keeping the mosquitoes alive and as long as there are mosquitoes, the possibility of contracting West Nile Virus exists,” says Gary House, director of the Weber-Morgan Health Department. “This is not the time to become complacent or let our guard down in terms of protecting ourselves from this debilitating virus.”

The virus was discovered in blood drawn from a horse located near Liberty, Utah. Humans cannot contract the disease from horses. It is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite birds, horses and humans. While there is a vaccine for horses, no such precaution exists for humans.

“The mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active from dusk to dawn,” House says. “It is important to remember the necessary precautions during these sensitive hours of the day. Residents can also help themselves by keeping doors and screens to their homes in good repair.”

The best precautions include:

  1. Wearing long shirts and pants
  2. Using insect repellant that contains DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide).
  3. Remove standing water from around yards and homes.
  4. Make sure windows, doors and screens fit tightly.

As of this week, the Weber-Morgan Health Department has two horses, one mosquito pool and one human test positive for the disease in 2008.