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Season's First West Nile Virus Case Confirmed

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The Salt Lake County Health Department has confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in Utah this year.

 Dr. Dagmar Vitek is the department’s Medical Director.  She says most cases of West Nile virus are asymptomatic but some people who contract the disease can develop West Nile fever, "where they get flu-like symptoms like fever, headache and muscle aches," Vitek says. "They don’t feel well, but they usually recover within a few weeks."

But Vitek says the individual in this case was diagnosed with the much rarer and more severe neuroinvasive disease.

“The person has meningitis and encephalitis and currently is hospitalized,” she says.

Health officials are reminding Utahns that while Zika is getting a lot of attention, West Nile is the mosquito-borne virus they should be most concerned about.

"There definitely is a chance you can get infected," Vitek says."So please wear mosquito repellents like DEET, wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants.”

 Vitek says draining standing water near the home can also help prevent infection.

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