CASA GRANDE — Pinal County health officials are finding more mosquitoes containing the West Nile virus and are asking residents to do their part to keep them from infecting humans.
The county’s Public Health Services District reported Monday that the number of mosquitoes that test positive for the virus among the sample tested is increasing, though there have been no confirmed cases of disease among humans.
To keep it that way, the county is urging residents to take measures to stop the increase in mosquitoes that can carry the virus. The top priority is eliminating areas with standing water, since this is where the insects can lay their eggs. The county recommends ensuring proper drainage of properties; frequently changing water in items such as flower vases, birdbaths and planters; and either maintaining operations of a pool or draining the water out of it.
Other recommendations include getting rid of junk or debris that could collect water, repairing leaky pipes and faucets, and putting up screens on all windows and doors.
The Pinal County Environmental Health Division investigates complaints over permanent standing water, green pools and heavy mosquito activity.
“Mosquitoes are a part of our desert environment, just like the sun,” said EHD Director Chris Reimus. “People are used to avoiding sunburns and wearing sunscreen; the same principles apply to mosquitoes. Avoid them and wear CDC recommended repellent if mosquitoes cannot be avoided.”
To protect the body from mosquitoes that already exist, the county recommends using Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent with one of the following ingredients: DEEP, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undeccanone. Sunscreen should be applied before the repellent.
Only 20% of people infected with West Nile virus actually feel sick from it, and only 1 in 150 develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. Its symptoms include rash, headache, high fever, neck stiffness or disorientation, and it may resemble other health conditions.
More information can be found at pinal.gov/ehs or by calling 866-287-0209.