The virus has most recently been detected in mosquito pools in Lehi and South Provo and in sentinel chickens in Duchesne County. It was earlier detected in Salt Lake and Washington counties and in Goshen in southern Utah County. Last year there were 52 confirmed cases in the state and one death, a man in Uintah County.
Hatch said it's been a terrible year for mosquitoes. The rainy spring and warmer than normal temperatures in May and June caused the mosquitoes to hatch sooner than usual. "We're about six weeks ahead of last year detecting the virus and the mosquito population is about four weeks ahead of normal.
"Our crews have done a tremendous amount of spraying, he said. "Our numbers are OK, but they're not as low as we'd like to see."
Hatch said they're also doing an extreme amount of surveillance and trapping to be assured of detecting the virus as soon as it appears.
There are mainly two types of mosquitoes which carry the West Nile Virus. They are most active at dawn and at sunset.
As in the past,Hatch advises those who are outside in the early morning or evening hours to wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET and to wear long sleeves and long pants.
Other precautions include draining any standing water around yards, such as can be found in cans or tires.
West Nile Virus can be a very serious disease, which can result in death.
Four of five infected people will not develop any symptoms of the disease, and only about one in 150 will become seriously ill.
Twenty percent get what's termed West Nile Fever, described as a minor fever, although that term could be a misnomer in that there have been cases with long-term consequences. Less than 1 percent of the virus' victims have complications as bad as meningitis or encephalitis. There is a rare chance of death.
However, it's still important to prevent mosquito bites since the virus can cause a serious illness, especially in persons over 50 or with weak immune systems.
People with serious West Nile disease have a high fever, fatigue, and headache and may become confused, have seizures, go into a coma, and rarely, die. There is no specific treatment or human vaccine for West Nile Virus.