PHOENIX — Just one day after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the mosquito-spread Zika virus, Maricopa County officials said there is “no indication” that the virus has hit the Valley.
Johnny Dilone with the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department said there are no cases of the Zika virus “here in Maricopa County and in Arizona.”
“We do have the mosquito that could potentially carry the Zika virus, but so far there’s no indication of (the virus),” he said.
The Zika virus is commonly spread through mosquito bites by the Aedes Aegypti species, the same species that can spread the dengue and chikungunya viruses.
Residents have voiced a growing number of concerns over the possibility that the recent influx of rain and snow in the Valley could attract the insects, but Dilone said mosquitoes need warmer temperatures to really be active.
The Centers of Disease Control is currently working on a test for the virus and is expected to release one soon, but Dilone said the county already does testing year-round for mosquitoes.
“We do have the blood test,” he said. “Through that blood test, public health (officials) would be notified if there was an expected case.”
The test would be administered if someone was showing common signs of the virus, which include fever, rash, joint pain and Conjunctivitis, and then county environmental officials would go monitor the property and set up traps.
Dilone said people should take precaution by disposing of stagnant water, protecting themselves from mosquito bites and making sure screen doors are intact.
At least 31 people nationwide have contracted the virus so far, although most cases were brought back by tourists.
A student at the College of William and Mary in Virginia contracted the Zika virus while traveling in Central America over winter break and is expected to recover.
The virus was transmitted sexually to a Texas resident after having sexual intercourse with a person who had returned from South America. It is the first case of the virus being transmitted in the U.S. during the current outbreak.