Climate change might bring more West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes

Mar 31, 2022, 2:15 PM | Updated: 2:19 pm
Mosquitos with West Nile virus could see a population boost...
Biologist Christian Weinrich removes bycatch from a sampling of mosquitoes at the Salt Lake Mosquito Abatement laboratory in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 27, 2021. Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — Warmer temperatures and disappearing wetlands are creating conditions where the mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus could thrive this summer. That’s the assessment of experts cited in an article from Kaiser Health News as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Gary Hatch, the director of the Davis Mosquito Abatement District, agreed.

Increasing populations

Hatch said his crews have had to continue their spraying efforts later in the year to control the Culex mosquitoes that spread the virus, and they’ve seen more and more of them.

“Last year, we had 301 positive mosquito pools, which is more than double what we’ve had in the past,” Hatch told KSL NewsRadio.

Hatch said the mosquitoes love warm weather when the daytime and nighttime temperatures average 70 degrees.

“We’ve seen an increase in those 70-degree days, which makes the virus amplify and grow faster and make the mosquito able to transmit the virus quicker,” he said.

The district’s efforts focus on two species of mosquito.

Culex tarsalis lives in wetland areas, and the district’s spraying efforts focus on eliminating them. The other, Culex pipiens, lives and breeds in urban areas, taking advantage of standing water in yards and gardens. Hatch said its numbers diminished last year, partly because residents weren’t watering their properties as much during the drought.

What West Nile virus does

While West Nile virus typically causes mild symptoms in most people, it can turn into a neuroinvasive disease that can cause serious illness and even death. Hatch said its early symptoms are similar to COVID-19, and some people with the disease may not have known they had it.

“They go in for testing for COVID. They’re told they don’t have COVID, and so they just go home,” he said. reported that the Utah Department of Health confirmed 11 cases of West Nile virus last summer, with one fatality.

Experts recommend wearing long-sleeved clothing, avoiding outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk, and using mosquito repellents with DEET to avoid bites from mosquitoes that carry West Nile and other disease-causing germs.


Today’s Top Stories


WWE Essential...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

John Cena breaks Make-A-Wish record after granting 650 wishes

Actor, wrestling legend, and perpetual meme subject John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
23 hours ago
Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 days ago
BYU tracking...
Simone Seikaly

BYU researchers learn importance of tracking, in fitness and other goals

BYU researchers found that tracking an activity helps to increase (or decrease) that activity.
4 days ago
Adam Small

National health panel recommends anxiety screenings for adults under 65

Anxiety screenings were recommended for adults 19 to 64 by the task force to help combat the under-detection of anxiety disorders.
5 days ago
The little league player that was critically injured after falling off a  bunk bed is now fighting ...
Randall Jeppesen and Mark Jones

Easton Oliverson family files lawsuit against LLBB and bunk bed makers

A lawsuit has been filed by the family of Easton Oliverson against Little League Baseball and the makers of the bunk beds he fell off and injured his head just prior to the Little League World Series.
6 days ago
University of Utah Health...
Lindsay Aerts

U of U Health says contraception need higher for both women and men in the wake of Roe decision

University of Utah Heath says demand for birth control is up and they have a new clinic hoping to get women faster access.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Climate change might bring more West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes