PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - West Nile numbers keep climbing across Arizona, with more people hospitalized with the disease.
The county has been trying to fog areas to kill off the mosquitoes that carry it, but then Arizona got more rain this weekend.
The numbers are definitely concerning. Last year at this time, we had three West Nile cases in the county. As of Monday night, Maricopa County said we have at least 104 cases.
While the county tries to keep up with fogging, some residents are taking that into their own hands too.
Nathan Ryberg was a Tempe Police detective before retiring from the force after more than 30 years of service. This Monday, Lori Ryberg isn't sure her husband even knows she's in his hospital room.
“All of us should be concerned and taking the necessary precautions.”
“I don’t know that yet. I don’t know if he can tell I’m there,” she said. “He’s been in a medically induced coma since.”
Nathan was admitted to the hospital nine days ago after barely being conscious, and tested positive for West Nile encephalitis.
He has been extremely ill in the ICU ever since. Lori is now terrified one of their 13 children could catch the virus too, many of whom are adopted with special needs. Lori hired somebody to fog the outside of their house and backyard for extra protection.
“If one of my kids got this too, I mean oh my goodness,” Lori said. “Sitting in an ICU is not an issue, it’s just the first time I’ve ever done it with my husband.”
In Maricopa County's Monday night newsletter, the top of the newsletter said, "Today's key message: West Nile virus threat is significant."
The county fogged many areas in cities across the county Saturday morning, but the rains came that afternoon, which will cause puddling of stagnant water again.
The county said the fogging they did still had enough time to kill the adult mosquitoes, but now we're back to the beginning of the cycle after the weekend storms. The county will be setting traps again this week and testing the mosquitoes in the lab.
“We’ll go monitor and see the activity and hopefully some areas will be okay, and some areas more spraying may be needed,” said Johnny Dilone with Maricopa County Environmental Services.
As the county continues to try and curb this as much as they can, Lori knows her husband’s road to recovery won't be easy. “It’s the long haul. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. The brain has taken a significant hit,” Lori said.
As the county is setting traps, that's how they are tracking the number of positive West Nile samples from mosquitoes.
To put this into perspective, in 2020 the county had 10 samples with the virus. This year, so far, the county has had 612 samples with West Nile.