San Tan Valley Area Information

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Pinal County Records First West Nile Virus Case of 2014

"This is an early case of West Nile virus in Pinal County," said Graham Briggs, Communicable Disease Administrator for the Pinal County Public Health Services District. "Our Environmental Health Services Vector Control personnel have not seen a positive West Nile virus mosquito as of yet. We usually start getting positives around the beginning of July."

Pinal County Environmental Health Services Vector Control program focuses on disease prevention with efforts concentrated on reduction of the specific types of mosquitoes associated with WNV. Vector Control personnel began trapping and testing mosquitoes for the virus in April. With this positive case the department will be increasing their mosquito surveillance in the area.

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of a mosquito. The overall risk of WNV to humans is low and the majority of people infected will not experience any clinical symptoms. For those that get symptoms fever, headache, tiredness and body aches are common. A small percentage of people may experience more serious forms of illnesses that can include lasting or permanent neurological effects. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.

In 2013, there were two confirmed WNV cases in Pinal County; statewide there were 62 confirmed cases, with six fatalities.

To help avoid getting WNV infection, health officials recommend the following:

  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. Check for items outside the home that collect water, such as cans, bottles, jars, buckets, old tires, drums and other containers and get rid of them.
  • Change water in flower vases, birdbaths, planters, troughs, and animal watering pans at least twice a week.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently.
  • If you have a swimming pool, keep it operational. If you must keep it out of use, make sure you remove the standing water, keep it chlorinated, or run the filter daily.
  • Even a short time being outdoors can be long enough to get a mosquito bite. Take extra care to use insect repellent and protective clothing during evening and early morning -- or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times. When outdoors, use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET.
  • Repair or install screens on your home. Keep mosquitoes outside by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors. Offer to help neighbors whose screens might be in bad shape. Don't forget to make sure that screens are repaired on tents when camping.

Horses are also susceptible to WNV. Horse owners are encouraged to talk with their veterinarians regarding the WNV vaccine for horses.

Pinal County Environmental Health Services also investigates complaints related to WNV, such as standing water, green pools, or other reports of mosquito activity. If you would like information on mosquito prevention and control, or to file a complaint, visit the Pinal County Environmental Health Services webpage at, or call 866-287-0209, ext. 6200.

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