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Sat, Oct. 19

West Nile Virus found in two locations in Flagstaff

Mosquitoes pick up the West Nile virus from feeding on infected birds. A single bite can transmit the disease to horses and humans, as well as birds. (Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Mosquitoes pick up the West Nile virus from feeding on infected birds. A single bite can transmit the disease to horses and humans, as well as birds. (Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS) officials confirmed a second mosquito pool has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The mosquito sample was taken from the Cheshire area in northwest Flagstaff.

Recently, a mosquito sample from an area south of Lake Mary Road in Flagstaff tested positive for WNV. No human cases have been reported in Coconino County since 2010 when two human cases where identified.

CCHHS staff has applied a non-toxic larvicide treatment to reduce mosquito populations in water pools in the affected areas and in other locations in the County. CCHHS will continue trapping and testing mosquitoes in areas where there is mosquito activity until colder weather returns. Although these are the only areas where mosquitoes have tested positive this year, WNV is endemic and could be present in other areas throughout the County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD -the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection.

People are encouraged to take the following precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active at dusk and dawn. Stay indoors during these times or wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoor.

Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.

· Use air conditioning, if available.

· Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs near your home. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.

People should continue taking preventive measures until cold weather returns and mosquito activity diminishes in the fall.

Most people (8 out of 10) infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms. Symptoms and signs of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. If people experience symptoms, they should contact a healthcare provider.

There is no specific treatment for WNV other than supportive care, and there is no vaccine available for humans. A WNV vaccination is available for horses. CCHHS encourages horse owners to discuss vaccinations with their veterinarian.

More information or to report any concerns is available by calling the Coconino County Health and Human Services Environmental Health office at (928) 679-8750 or toll free 1-877-679-7272.

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