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West Nile, valley fever cases spiking, killing in Arizona

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — Two diseases are soaring in Arizona, and one of them has been deadlier this year than last.

West Nile virus took six lives in 2018, and seven this year, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“We’ve had 110 cases of West Nile virus reported this year, whereas last year, we ended the entire year with only 27 cases reported,” said Jessica Rigler, assistant director for public health preparedness.

The department also reports 6,000 cases of valley fever this year. That’s on pace to break last year’s total of 7,500.

“We would actually expect to see cases associated with haboobs a little bit later in the year,” Rigler said.

She cautions us to avoid the dust storms spreading fungal spores that we can inhale.

And Rigler reminds us to drain stagnant water where mosquitoes bearing West Nile breed.

“Mosquitoes can lay eggs in pools of water as small as a bottle cap,” she said. “Really cleaning up your yard after a rain is important to help protect you and your family.”

Both diseases of the neural and respiratory systems bear few symptoms.

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