OGDEN -- This year's heavy rainfall has produced a bumper crop of pesky bugs, which means you may have an increased chance of contracting West Nile virus.
Weber-Morgan Health Department officials are reminding residents to take a few simple steps to help stop the spread of the virus, which can affect the central nervous system.
Those steps include eliminating any standing water around your yard; rotating standing water in birdbaths, flower pots and pet dishes; cleaning clogged gutters; repairing leaking faucets and sprinklers; and covering barrels and buckets, said Lori Buttars, public relations officer for the health department.
"Keep weeds and grass cut short so the mosquitoes don't have shady places to rest during hot afternoons," Buttars said.
"Check windows and doors to see if the screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes from entering your home."
Residents can buy packets of nontoxic biological mosquito larvacide that dissolves in water, Buttars said. That product kills mosquito larvae before they hatch into biting adults.
Keeping a can of insect repellent handy also is recommended. Encourage family members and guests to use it from dusk to dawn, when the biting mosquitoes are most active.
While DEET has proven to be the most effective, products containing picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus also can be used.
West Nile virus causes a wide range of symptoms, from fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, skin rash on stomach, back and chest and swollen lymph glands to high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, vision loss, paralysis and coma.
"These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent," Buttars said.
Infected people typically develop symptoms three to 14 days after being bitten.
West Nile virus has already been detected in a sample of mosquitoes in Washington County this year.