With the summer rainy season officially underway, mosquito breeding is about to pick up in Arizona, and that means the onset of West Nile Virus season.
Health officials again have launched the “Fight the Bite” campaign, educating residents about how to prevent the mosquito-borne virus.
“When you’re going outside ... put on mosquito repellent,” says Shoana Anderson, an epidemiologist with the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Wearing long sleeves - so you’re not getting bites yourself - and then you also can really help the community by making sure that you’re looking for water spots around your house.”
Many people forget the simple task of turning over pots occasionally to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed, Anderson says.
Most people infected with West Nile Virus don’t develop any symptoms, but others may experience headaches, body aches, nausea, fever, skin rashes and--in rare cases--death, she says.
Not only are Tucson residents dealing with keeping mosquitoes our of their homes, the city government is dealing with its own problems.
The Sweetwater Wetlands, located off Interstate-10 and West Sweetwater Drive, is a prime source for mosquitoes, since the public park has slow-moving water, as it naturally treats reclaimed wastewater.
“The fact that we have slow-moving water there (to make sure natural treatment processes are working), it does create habitat for mosquitoes," says Fernando Molina, Tucson Water spokesman. "So, an integral part of maintenance for that facility is mosquito control.”
Larvacide also is applied regularly, says Molina, and controlled burns help remove some of the lush vegetation that attract mosquitoes, while also allowing for better application of the insecticide.