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Pima County reports first case of West Nile Virus

Pima County reports first case of West Nile Virus.jpg
Posted at 9:27 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 01:36:14-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County reported its first West Nile Virus case of the season.

The county tells KGUN 9 the person had not traveled outside of the county.

“It's a cyclical disease meaning we'll get some years with no cases in some cases with quite a few. It really depends," said Anissa Taylor, Pima County epidemiologist.

Taylor said most people infected may not know because they don’t show symptoms.

“You may have symptoms like fever, headache, rash, joint pain. If you're suspecting any of these symptoms are related to being bitten by a mosquito, you can contact your doctor for a test, and then there's those who have severe symptoms and that's pretty rare," said Taylor.

The county keeps up with the mosquito population with testing and surveillance.

“I have two samples, I'm in the process of testing for West Nile right now,” said Gregg Bustamante, environmental health technician.

Bustamante goes from zip code to zip code trapping the bugs then counts them.

“Basically, we set them on a white piece of paper, and then we put them on a collection cup-- either glass or plastic. [Then] put them underneath the microscope. We have what's called a stereoscope where it's plugged into a monitor to identify what type they are,” said Bustamante.

He said so far this year, the county has counted 15,000 to 20,000 mosquitoes.

“We've had a lot because of the rain. Unlike last year where it was dry,” said Bustamante.

The county leaves this advice for residents.

“The best thing is to make sure that you're wearing long sleeve clothing when you're outdoors or doing outdoor activities, reducing standing water," said Taylor.

If you find a breeding ground, you can contact the county at -520-724-7908.