GILBERT and MESA, Ariz. – The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department was out and about in the East Valley dark and early Thursday morning, doing mosquito fogging.
MCESD says it sends out spray trucks when a large number of mosquitoes is caught in traps or when trapped mosquitoes test positive for the potentially deadly West Nile virus.
Experts say the best way to deal with mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding grounds. Once mosquitoes lay their eggs, it only takes three day for them to hatch and grow into adults that able to bite and also lay more eggs.
“Mosquitoes can lay eggs in tree holes and containers such as old tires, buckets, toys, potted plant trays and saucers, bird baths, fountains, wading pools, pet water dishes, plastic covers or tarps, or any other thing that can hold water,” reads the city of Gilbert website.
While the MCESD fogging takes care of public areas, there are some actions the city of Gilbert suggests residents take at their homes:
• Empty standing water from containers after each rain event;
• Check and eliminate places that accumulate water after irrigating your yard;
• Keep fountains operating or drain the water;
• Keep swimming pools treated and circulating;
• Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets;
• Check air conditioning drain hoses to ensure water is not pooling;
• Replace your outdoor lights with yellow "bug lights."
Most people infected with West Nile virus from a mosquito bite will exhibit no symptoms at all, but about 20 percent will develop mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, swollen glands and sometimes a rash on the body.
While it is rare, West Nile virus can cause encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, which is inflammation of the brain lining and spinal cord. Symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, less than 1 percent of those infected with West Nile virus develop severe disease. While it can happen to anyone, people older than 50 are at the greatest risk.
With 167 diagnosed cases and 15 deaths reported to the CDC, Arizona led the nation in human cases of West Nile virus last year. Slightly more than 1,000 cases were reported nationwide.
According to the CDC, 268 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 31 states, including Arizona, so far this year. The Arizona Department of Health Services said that as of Sept. 20, it has had reports of eight confirmed human West Nile virus cases and 22 probable cases. Most of them are in Maricopa County. Two people have died.