Davis County Health Director Lewis Garrett told Board of Health members on Tuesday that his department expects the state to have a bigger problem with the virus than last year, because activity of the virus in Colorado last summer was much larger than reported through the news media. Garrett believes the problem will be "much bigger than originally anticipated.
West Nile is the virus spread by adult mosquitoes. Last summer, only a few cases of the potentially deadly virus were found in Utah, and those only as the season was winding down. None were reported in Davis County. But Colorado reported more than 1,500 cases, and according to Garrett, that was low. Garrett also told board members that his staff is watching numbers of the avian flu, more commonly known as bird flu, reported in several Asian countries.
Human deaths have been reported in Vietnam and Thailand, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The bird flu is particularly virulent and has been known to wipe out entire bird populations.
They are also watching for signs of SAR (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which is again breaking out in China. More than 8,000 people were reported with the disease last year. Those who became ill in the U.S. had traveled overseas.