Maricopa County reports season’s first West Nile death, warns about mosquitoes

Sep 1, 2021, 1:13 PM | Updated: 1:29 pm
(Twitter Photo/@Maricopahealth)...
(Twitter Photo/@Maricopahealth)
(Twitter Photo/@Maricopahealth)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County on Wednesday reported its first death of the season from West Nile virus, which typically spreads to humans via mosquito bites.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health said there have already been 36 documented cases of West Nile virus in humans this season. Last year’s total was just three cases and one death.

The person who died was described in a press release as an “older adult who also had other health conditions.”

The county’s year-round mosquito surveillance program has documented a 400% increase in positive West Nile virus mosquito samples over last year.

The uptick is a consequence of all the rain the Valley’s seen during an active monsoon storm season.

“Mosquitoes need water. They also need warm temperatures. So what we have right now are ideal conditions for mosquito breeding: a lot of stagnant water and warm temperatures,” Johnny Diloné, spokesman for the Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

Diloné said the county has been receiving complaints about mosquitos from all across metro Phoenix.

Officials are encouraging residents to get rid of any standing water on their properties, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“With so much rain this summer, we all need to stay mindful of eliminating standing water where mosquitos can breed, like pet dishes, potted plants, and even toys,” Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the Maricopa County Disease Control Division, said in the press release.

Other ways to prevent West Nile include using repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, wearing lightweight clothing that keeps legs and arms covered and making sure window and door screens don’t have holes.

West Nile causes symptoms — fever, headache, body aches and muscle weakness – in only about 20% of infections.

In rare cases, about 1 in 150 infections, the virus can cause encephalitis or meningitis, with symptoms such as headache, neck stiffness, vision loss and paralysis.

People older than 60 year old or who have underlying medical conditions or have depressed immune systems are at increased risk for serious complications if infected.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...

Jomax interchange opens to complete Loop 303 expansion in Peoria

Work on a yearlong, $20.3 million project to expand Loop 303 in the northwest Valley wrapped up Thursday, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Capitol Museum)...
Associated Press

Arizona bill would ban transgender girls, women from teams that align with their gender identity

Transgender girls and women would be barred from competing on the high school or college sports team that aligns with their gender identity under a proposed Arizona law that was approved on party lines by a state Senate committee on Thursday.
1 day ago
(AP File Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Woman acquitted in protest of Arizona border wall construction

A Tohono O’odham woman was found not guilty Wednesday on federal misdemeanor charges stemming from her protest of border wall construction on her tribe's ancestral land.
1 day ago
(Sketch provided by Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)...

Arizona authorities hoping to identify remains of girl known as ‘Little Miss Nobody’

An Arizona sheriff's office is working in hopes of finally identifying the remains of a young girl who was found 60 years ago and dubbed "Little Miss Nobody."
1 day ago
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.(AP File Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)...
Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona announces 2nd COVID-19 infection

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva has contracted COVID-19 for the second time, saying Thursday he has minor symptoms.
1 day ago
Irene Luevano and Jorge Quintero Lara (Courtesy Photos)...

Body of missing 37-year-old Phoenix woman found in western Arizona

The body of a missing 37-year-old Phoenix woman was found in a western Arizona county and her boyfriend is set to face charges in her death, authorities said Thursday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Maricopa County reports season’s first West Nile death, warns about mosquitoes