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Maricopa County begins testing mosquitoes for Zika

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PHOENIX — Maricopa County has added testing mosquitoes for Zika virus to its public-health protocols.

The county Environmental Services Department has been testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus, Saint Louis encephalitis and Chikungunya but with updated federal guidelines in place, has expanded the field.

“We have been working diligently with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand our mosquito testing protocols,” Steven Goode, the department’s director, said in a release.

“This is another crucial step forward in our battle to protect Maricopa County residents and our visitors from mosquito-borne diseases.”

The mosquito type that can carry the Zika virus has been in the County for quite a while, but the Arizona Department of Health Services has said there was no evidence of Zika being spread in Arizona.

In March, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first case of Zika virus.

It was diagnosed in a woman who had traveled to a Zika-affected area outside of the United States.

Since then, there have been no other confirmed cases of Zika in the state.

Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services said after the confirmation, “the risk of this virus spreading throughout Arizona is very low.”

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