West Nile virus (WNV) is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which hatch from standing water. An easily predictable problem in places like Minnesota (the land of 10,000 lakes) or somewhere like Washington State where it rains a lot.
But not here in the Arizona desert, is it? WRONG!
According to statistics, 764 mosquitoes turned out to be carrier of WNV in Maricopa County Last year.
In 2020, only 10 tested positive for the disease.
The only year that comes close to last year’s tallies is 2019, when 417 trapped mosquitoes carried the virus.
Those numbers translated to more than 1,400 cases of WNV in Maricopa County’s human population in 2021, according to a new Maricopa County website called “Fighting the Bite”.
According to Centers for Disease Control, about 80% of people infected with WNV develop no symptoms, while one in five suffer from body aches, diarrhea, headache, joint pain, rash and/or vomiting. About one in 150 people develop serious symptoms, involving the central nervous system, which can lead to death.
Arizona’s “monsoon season” is fast approaching. A time of year characterized by short, severe thunderstorms that can drop large amounts of rain in a short period. Precipitation from monsoon storms usually does not have time to penetrate the harsh desert soil and accumulates in washouts and drainage areas. A perfect environment for mosquito breeding.
Fight the Bite urges Maricopa County residents to take specific steps, which they call the Four Rs, to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and possibly becoming infected with WNV.
Repel mosquitoes through the use of an EPA-registered insect repellent.
Remove standing water around your home.
Repair or replace damaged window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Recall others on mosquito safety.