9 On Your Side Health Watch
One person dies from West Nile virus in Pima Co.
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – No more monsoon rains, but the danger of the West Nile virus remains: Pima County just reported its first death from the mosquito-borne illness. Experts tell 9 On Your Side you should still take every precaution.
“Depending on the areas of Pima County that people live in, if they are still having local problems with mosquitoes then it can still be a concern. People should take proper measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Michael Acoba, the manager of the Epidemiology Department in the Department of Mental Health.
Pima County had one fatality from the 25 probably or confirmed cases of West Nile this season, while Maricopa County saw two deaths.
Most of the mosquitoes arrive on the tail of the monsoon and last though October. The standing water from the storms allows mosquitoes to breed. Pest experts say that’s why it’s smart to check around your home.
“Homeowners want to make sure they eliminate any potential moisture sources around the house, even though they haven’t had a lot of moisture: just simple irrigation of your yard, potted plants, areas where the moisture collects with air conditioning units,” said Eric Ruden, Owner of Tucson-based Essential Pest Management.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a mild infection of the West Nile virus may involve: fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, skin rash (occasionally), swollen lymph glands (occasionally) and eye pain (occasionally).
A serious infection may involve: high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, disorientation, stupor or coma, tremors or muscle jerking, lack of coordination, convulsions and pain.
However, 80 percent of people do not don’t show any symptoms and only 20 percent actually get a mild infection. Statistically, only 1 in 150 people have a severe infection; most of them are usually elders or people with weaker immune systems.
One West-Nile-related death occurred in Maricopa County so far this year.
Experts offer some tips to avoid getting bitten by a mosquito:
- avoid activity at dusk and dawn (when more mosquitoes are out)
- wear clothing that covers your arms and legs
- use mosquito repellant
- make sure your windows and doors have tight-fitting screens
- use a fan to stop mosquitoes from entering your home if the doors are open