Monsoon brings mosquitos and the potential for West Nile virus | Health
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is sending out a reminder about monsoon and mosquito breeding season and what residents can do to prevent the potential for West Nile Virus.
“So far, we haven’t had any cases of West Nile Virus reported for the 2012 season, but it’s always a threat,” said Will Humble, ADHS Director. “Because it’s carried by mosquitos, we have to work together to prevent the spread of the virus. Make sure there’s no standing water around your house. Simple actions, like tipping over your wheel barrow, can reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds. If you see something at your neighbors, work with them to resolve it. Reducing the breeding places for mosquitos will cut down the number of cases of West Nile we get in the state.”
Numbers for West Nile Virus cases this year are not in yet, but ADHS is investigating several 'possible' cases. In 2011 there were 69 reported West Nile cases in Arizona, ranking it second in the nation, while in 2010 there were 166 cases, ranking Arizona as the highest in the nation.
The best way to prevent being bitten by a mosquito is to reduce the numbers of mosquitos around the home. ADHS is offering the following actions:
- Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Check for and eliminate items outside the home that may collect water, such as cans, bottles, jars, buckets, old tires, drums and other containers.
- Change water in flower vases, birdbaths and animal watering pans at least twice a week
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes in them.
- Wear lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs.
- Use insect repellent to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes anytime you go outside. This is particularly important for the elderly and small children.
It is still early in the West Nile Virus season, so activity is expected to increase during the summer and fall. This may result in an increase in human cases.
For additional information on West Nile Virus, please visit the Arizona Department of Health Services’ website at www.westnileaz.com.