An elderly woman in Maricopa County has become Arizona’s first seasonal fatality because of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus, prompting Pima County governments to issue warnings for people to take reasonable preventive measures to reduce mosquito-breeding sites.

There are no West Nile Virus-positive human cases in Pima County, according to a release from the Pima County Health Department.

“Our summer storms have already been frequent this year,” said Dr. Michelle McDonald, chief medical officer for the Pima County Health Department. “Confirmed cases of West Nile virus have been identified in some mosquitoes, dead birds, and sentinel chickens around Arizona, so we know the threat is here. However, with knowledge and precautions, residents can vastly reduce their chances of contracting the disease.”

The following information can help residents remain safe:

• Not all mosquitoes are carriers of the West Nile virus. However, the more mosquitoes there are, the greater the chances that one may transmit the disease.

• Check your property for any standing water. Mosquito eggs need water to be undisturbed for three days in order to hatch. Vacant properties, especially those with pools, are ideal sources for mosquito habitats. If water cannot be eliminated, treat or recirculate on regular basis.

• Repair window, door screens, or any other openings to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Get rid of any unnecessary items that might trap and hold water.

• For personal protection, use insect repellents with DEET, Picaridan, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Wear protective clothing and limit time outdoors from dusk until dawn.

• Report mosquitoes, green pools, or water standing for more than three days at 243-7999.

• Ask questions related to West Nile virus by calling 243-7797.

• Report neglected properties, unsecured pools, excessive trash and debris within city limits by calling 792-CITY (2489).

Web pages with preventive information:

• Pima County Health Department:

• City of Tucson:

• State of Arizona Department of Health Services:

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