Pinal County positively tests first mosquito to carry West Nile virus in 2022

·1 min read
Tori Cole counts mosquitoes in the Maricopa County Vector Control lab on Oct. 14, 2021, in Phoenix.
Tori Cole counts mosquitoes in the Maricopa County Vector Control lab on Oct. 14, 2021, in Phoenix.

Officials said the first mosquito to be carrying West Nile virus in 2022 in Pinal County has been found.

The Maricopa County Public Health Department reported that the West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is found around the world and made its first appearance in Maricopa County in 2004.

According to Maricopa County, there have been 20 cases of West Nile virus and one death during the year of 2022. The county's Environmental Services Department collected mosquitoes throughout Maricopa County and found 11 mosquitoes in 2022.

Officials said that some mosquito-borne symptoms can have lasting or permanent effects and can sometimes be fatal.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, some symptoms of the West Nile virus are high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, seizures and even a possible coma.

"Last year, we had a significant West Nile virus season in Pinal County and statewide," Pinal County's Environmental Health Manager Chris Reimus said. "This year, things have progressed more slowly, but it is still important to be vigilant to protect our community."

Elderly people and people with co-morbidities are at risk for serious complications, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The Pinal County Public Health Services District shared suggestions for preventing West Nile virus:

  • If you have a swimming pool, keep it operational.

  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently to prevent standing water.

  • Take extra care to use insect repellent and protective clothing.

  • Keep mosquitoes outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors.

Reach breaking news reporter Jodicee Arianna at Jodicee.Harris@gannett.com.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Pinal County has positive test of mosquito with West Nile virus