PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5 ) - We are starting to see a lot more West Nile virus cases in the Valley. An Ahwatukee woman felt sick but had no idea it was West Nile. She found out while giving blood.
Cynthia Conley loves to donate blood a couple times a year to her favorite Valley event, Adelyn's Blood Drive. They help Adelyn, a little girl who needs constant blood transfusions. “I’m really sad now that I can’t until next January,” said Conley.
She didn't expect what happened after she rolled up her sleeve Saturday. “I thought my exhaustion afterward was just a reaction to having given the blood donation,” Conley said.
She got a call on Monday. “Vitalant called me and said we have screened your blood and you are positive for West Nile virus,” she said. “I’m exhausted, shaky, brain fog, just zero energy.” While Conley hasn't been hospitalized, others have.
West Nile virus has no cure. Maricopa County Public Health said they're seeing more cases, and are now tracking 90 known human cases of West Nile in the county and two deaths.
Johnny Diolme with county environmental services said all the rain we got this year created a widespread mosquito breeding problem. “There are areas where we see more activity but we see activity all across the Valley,” Diolme said. “All of us should be concerned and taking the necessary precautions.”
While wearing long sleeves and pants can help, avoiding being outside during dusk and dawn is best. Conley hopes her story will spread awareness, as she's not somebody who gets a lot of mosquito bites. But you don't have to be. “Doesn’t matter if you think you’re a mosquito magnet or not, it just takes one bite to get this disease,” Conley said.
Because of the recent spike in West Nile cases, the county is doing a lot of fogging all weekend. Starting Saturday morning at 5 a.m. they’ll be out in Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Surprise, Tempe and Tolleson. Then Sunday, they'll hit Fountain Hills, Mesa, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.
Doctors have said only 1 in 5 who get West Nile will have symptoms. The elderly and immunocompromised are at greater risk for more severe cases.
As for how long these mosquitoes will be around, the county said we stay mostly dry, they should be gone sometime in October. But if we continue to get rain and storms, they could stick around through November.