Last week, during routine mosquito surveillance, the Pinal County Public Health Services District (PCPHSD) detected the first West Nile Virus (WNV) positive mosquitoes in the county this season, more specifically in the San Tan Valley area. Mosquito surveillance data is used to help determine the risk of mosquito borne disease to Pinal County residents and visitors, and it guides PCPHSD’s disease prevention efforts.
West Nile Virus (WNV), which is spread through the bite of certain mosquitoes, is now common in Arizona. Other mosquito borne diseases, including Zika virus, are emerging into North America, but have not yet been spread locally in Arizona. Pinal County’s mosquito surveillance program specifically looks for mosquitoes associated with human disease.
Not everyone who gets mosquito borne diseases has symptoms, but for those who do, some may experience lasting or permanent effects and, in the worst cases, the diseases can be fatal. The PCPHSD would like to remind everyone that there is quite a bit that can be done to help prevent mosquito borne disease.
Chris Reimus, who manages the County’s vector control program said, “The key to preventing mosquito borne disease is for residents to prevent mosquito breeding on their property. This is especially important since our summer monsoons have started and mosquito activity is ramping up. Residents, especially pregnant women, should be especially vigilant in taking steps to protect themselves to avoid mosquito bites.”
To help prevent mosquitoes and mosquito bites:
- Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. Check for items outside the home that collect water, such as cans, bottles, jars, buckets, old tires, drums and other containers and get rid of them.
- Change water in flower vases, birdbaths, planters, troughs, and animal watering pans at least twice a week. Be sure to scrub them out when changing water.
- Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently to prevent standing water.
- If you have a swimming pool, keep it operational. If you must keep it out of use, make sure you remove the standing water, keep it chlorinated, or run the filter daily.
- Even a short time being outdoors can be long enough to get a mosquito bite. Take extra care to use insect repellent and protective clothing. When outdoors, use an EPA-registered and CDC approved insect repellent.
- Keep mosquitoes outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors.
Pinal County also investigates complaints related to disease causing mosquitoes, such as permanent standing water, green pools, or other reports of mosquito activity. If you would like information on mosquito prevention and control, or to file a complaint, visit the Pinal County Environmental Health Services webpage at http://pinalcountyaz.gov/ehs, or call: 866-287-0209.