Arizona health official says record West Nile virus cases are dropping off

Oct 22, 2021, 7:30 AM | Updated: 7:33 am
(Getty Images/Joe Raedle)...
(Getty Images/Joe Raedle)
(Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

PHOENIX – It has been 18 years since the West Nile virus arrived in Arizona.

There have been 626 confirmed or probable cases statewide this year with 43 deaths after just two last year. Maricopa County accounts for 522 of the cases.

One of the wettest monsoon seasons in year has fueled the explosion in cases.

Jessica Rigler, assistant director for the Arizona Department of Health Services, says there have never been more cases in Arizona than now but she’s hopeful that the tough season is nearing the end.

“Case counts are coming down now. We’re encouraged that mosquito activity may be dropping off a bit as we head into cooler weather and that will continue to be the case,” Rigler said.

But for now, Rigler is emphatic that people stay protected.

Wear insect repellent, long sleeves and pants when going outside.

If the windows and doors are kept open on these cooler mornings and evenings, make sure screens are intact so mosquitoes don’t get in.

And it remains critical to rid areas on property of standing water.

“Dump out anything that water could pool in like a bucket or child’s toy that may be upturned or anything like that that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” Rigler said.

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Arizona health official says record West Nile virus cases are dropping off