Mosquitoes in Pinal County are carrying West Nile Virus, according to research performed by county’s Public Health Services District.

Mosquito surveillance is performed throughout Pinal County, which involved specialists hanging traps to catch and identify the mosquitoes to determine if they are the type that carry disease, and check if the virus is present. According to a press release issued by the county, mosquitoes carrying the disease were found for the first time this year.

“This is a good time to remind people that the best ways to prevent mosquito-borne illness are for residents to stop mosquito breeding on their property by checking for and emptying any standing water, said Chris Reimus, who manages Pinal County’s vector control program, in a release. “Even a short time outdoors can be long enough to get mosquito bites, so take care to wear protective clothing and use an effective insect repellent.”

Other ways to help prevent mosquitoes and mosquito bites include:

· 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

· Change water in flower vases, birdbaths, planters, troughs and animal watering pans at least twice a week. Scrub them out when changing water

· Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently to prevent standing water

· If you have a swimming pool or backyard pond, 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.

· Keep mosquitoes outside of your home by having well-fitting screens on both windows and doors.

· When using an insect repellent, make sure it is proven effective. EPA-registered and CDC recommended insect repellents include: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and 2-undecanone.

· When using sunscreen, always apply the sunscreen before you apply the insect repellent.

West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of certain mosquitoes, and is now common in Arizona. Other mosquito borne diseases, including Zika virus, are emerging into North America, but have not yet been spread locally in Arizona. Pinal County’s mosquito surveillance program specifically looks for mosquitoes associated with human disease.

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