ARIZONA NEWS

Wet monsoon in Arizona brings record-high season for West Nile virus

Sep 23, 2021, 4:45 AM | Updated: 7:31 am

(Pixabay photo)...

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

PHOENIX — This year’s wet monsoon in Arizona has created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and that’s leading to a record-high season for the West Nile virus.

So far this year, 132 cases and five deaths have been reported in Arizona and nearly all have been in Maricopa County, according to the latest state data.

That’s up from 11 cases and two deaths last year, which produced one of the driest monsoon seasons on record.

“There are a lot more cases that occur than what is reported,” Dr. Thomas Grys, co-director of microbiology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

He explained that’s because only about 20% of people with the virus experience any symptoms, including fever, nausea, headaches and body aches.

Grys said people who get these symptoms may think they have another virus, like COVID-19, and never get tested.

He recently got tested for the West Nile virus after he experienced a moderate fever, fatigue and muscle aches during Labor Day weekend. His test came back positive.

“After about 2-3 days, my fever went away and then I got a rash,” he said. “This is another pretty classic presentation of West Nile.”

Only a small number of people with the West Nile virus experience severe illness.

“Less than 1% can go on to have neuroinvasive disease, which can be very serious and include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation and mental status changes,” Grys said.

“A lot of these people require hospitalization and can have prolonged illness.”

He added older people and those with a weakened immune system who get the West Nile virus face a higher risk for developing neuroinvasive disease.

In a blog post this week, the Arizona Department of Health Services recommended steps people can take to prevent mosquito bites.

It recommended using insect repellent, making sure open windows and doors have intact screens, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and eliminating standing water where mosquitos lay their eggs.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

2 hours ago

A Phoenix Police SUV with lights on at a crime scene at night...

KTAR.com

Phoenix police arrest 2 suspects linked to home burglary

Phoenix law enforcement arrested two suspects after a break-in on Saturday evening near 43rd Avenue and Northern Avenue.

5 hours ago

File photo of crime scene tape in Phoenix...

David Veenstra

Police investigating fatal hit-and-run collision in north Phoenix

Police are investigating a fatal hit-and-run collision that killed a female pedestrian in north Phoenix on Saturday.

7 hours ago

A man died after a motorcycle crash early Sunday morning in Desert View Village. (MCSO Photo)...

David Veenstra

Motorcyclist dead after crash in Desert View Village, near Cave Creek

A man died after a motorcycle crash early Sunday morning in Desert View Village, near Cave Creek, according to authorities.

7 hours ago

World's Biggest Bounce House (XL Event Lab photo)...

Damon Allred

World’s Largest Bounce House coming to Phoenix for weekend stop on nationwide tour

The Big Bounce America is bringing its coterie of inflatable attractions to Phoenix this weekend, featuring eight inflatables.

8 hours ago

Singer Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant performs onstage during day two of the 2021 Pilgrimage Musi...

Damon Allred

Grammy-winning Cage The Elephant announces Phoenix stop during North American tour

Grammy Award-winning rock band Cage The Elephant announced a stop in Phoenix on its upcoming summer tour in conjunction with a new album.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Wet monsoon in Arizona brings record-high season for West Nile virus