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Mon, Oct. 18

First case of ‘West Nile Virus’ confirmed in Yavapai County since 2012, health officials say

Yavapai County health officials announced Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, that they have confirmed a human case of West Nile Virus, the first since 2012. (Independent stock photo)

Yavapai County health officials announced Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, that they have confirmed a human case of West Nile Virus, the first since 2012. (Independent stock photo)

COTTONWOOD — Yavapai County Community Health Services has confirmed the county’s first human case of the West Nile Virus since 2012, according to a news release Wednesday.

YCCHS Epidemiologist Stephen Everett submitted the confirmation.

YCCHS begins trapping mosquitoes each year until the end of October, with 70% of the mosquitos the county has trapped having been flood water mosquitos due to the monsoons.

“These mosquitoes are not known to transmit diseases,” YCCHS spokesperson Terri Farneti said.

The monsoon season is over, and many people are wishing the same could be true for mosquitoes.

“Mosquitoes are never going away; they are endemic to our ecosystem. The best way to protect ourselves and our families is to do surveillance of your own yard for standing water and avoiding dawn and dusk hours of the day,” YCCHS Section Manager Environmental Health Cecil Newell said.

With that, YCCHS issued a few tips for Verde Valley residents on how to protect their families and their pets.

First, avoid mosquito bites all together:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8- diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.

  • Be aware of peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

  • Wearing long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

YCCHS also suggests to mosquito-proof your home:

  • Drain standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

  • Install or repair screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly fitting screens on all your windows and doors.

  • Protect your animals. Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains.

If you live near any water sources in our county – and see an influx of mosquitos in the area, be assured the health department is on top of trapping in the area.

Information provided by Yavapai County Community Health Services.

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