Maricopa County records its first West Nile death in 2019

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PHOENIX – The Department of Public Health of Maricopa Province says they have registered the first West Nile death in 2019 in Maricopa County.

So far, 27 cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year, including that one death.

The person who died was an older adult who had other existing health problems, according to the Department of Health.

"This tragic death serves as an important reminder to all of us to do our part in protecting ourselves, our family, and our neighboring countries from mosquito-borne diseases," Dr. said. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the Disease Control Division at the Maricopa County Department of Health. "With a monsoon season, we'll probably see even more mosquito activity. Use insect repellent when you're outside and get rid of water outside your house where mosquitoes can breed, such as animal dishes, pot plants, and even toys."

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Those over 60 years of age have underlying medical conditions or depressive immune systems at higher risk for the more severe form of West Nile virus, according to the Department of Health.

"Public Health works closely with healthcare providers, Maricopa County Environmental Services and state and federal partners to maintain a strong monitoring system for both humans and mosquitoes and to set up prevention strategies," Dr. Sunenshine.

Maricopa County has taken the following precautions in controlling mosquitoes:

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin or other EPA-registered insect repellent according to the product label on exposed skin and clothing
  • Pour and remove containers with water away from your house where mosquitoes can breed, such as plastic covers, buckets, old tires, planters, bowls for pets, toys and boats
  • Plan the sides of the dish or in pot plants where mosquitoes lay their eggs
  • Ensure that doors and windows have tight screens, no holes and remain closed
  • If it is not too hot, wear light clothing that covers your arms and legs
  • Ensure that swimming pools and decorative water features are well maintained

In 2018, Maricopa County had 24 West Nile viruses and six deaths.

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