By Pinal County Public Health Services
The Pinal County Public Health Services District announced Tuesday the county has seen its first locally acquired human West Nile virus (WNV) case of 2015. A male from Maricopa has been confirmed with the infection and is currently receiving medical care while recovering.
WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of a mosquito. The overall risk of WNV to humans is low and the majority of people infected will not experience any clinical symptoms.
For those that get symptoms common symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches. A small percentage of people may experience a more serious form of illness that can include lasting or permanent neurological effects. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.
To reduce both annoying bites from floodwater mosquitoes and the risk of West Nile, Pinal County recommends the following:
– 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 and animal watering pans at least twice a week.
– Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently.
– Use insect repellent on exposed skin when you go outdoors. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Even a short time being outdoors can be long enough to get a mosquito bite.
– When weather permits, wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
– Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning — or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many species of mosquitoes.
– Repair or install screens on your home. Keep mosquitoes outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors. Offer to help neighbors whose screens might be in bad shape. Don’t forget to make sure that screens are repaired on tents when camping.
– 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.
Horses are also susceptible to WNV. Horse owners are encouraged to talk with their veterinarians regarding the WNV vaccine for horses.
For more information about West Nile Virus visit CDC.gov/WestNile/index.html
Pinal County Environmental Health Services also investigates complaints related to WNV, such as 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 PinalCountyAZ.gov/ehs, or call 866-287-0209, ext. 6200.