Maricopa County takes proactive approach in mosquito fight

Jul 31, 2012, 6:45 AM | Updated: 6:45 am

PHOENIX —
Maricopa County has ramped up efforts to put out traps and exterminate mosquitoes to help protect people from contracting West Nile virus.

County Vector Control Division Manager John Townsend said whenever big storms in the Valley leave standing water, mosquitoes pop up.

“We have 11 cases of West Nile virus in humans so far this year,” he said. “It’s up from last year, about the same as 2010. You see that with West Nile, it fluctuates up and down. A lot of depends on the weather.”

Townsend said there has been one confirmed death from the virus this year — most people are able to fight off the virus — but it is especially dangerous to those with compromised immune systems.

Townsend said people need to be proactive and make sure they’re not breeding mosquitoes in their own backyard.

“Dump any water that has been collecting,” he said. “Look at everything that can hold water. The mosquitoes need that to lay eggs … A small cup with water can breed them.”

Also check for standing water in boats and wheelbarrows.

Southeast Valley cities including Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek have been the focus of the fogging efforts, after receiving the bulk of the monsoon rainfall, but the surveillance and extermination of mosquitoes is underway across the county.

Townsend said people should avoid outside activity between dusk and dawn, wear lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs and use insect repellent along with keeping swimming pools properly maintained.

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Maricopa County takes proactive approach in mosquito fight