As our monsoon season approaches it is important to understand the risks we face from diseases mosquitoes carry like Zika, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow fever and what you can do to prevent them. Arizona is home to about 50 mosquito species including Aedes aegypti, a mosquito that can carry and spread diseases like the Zika virus. This mosquito is well-adapted to the Arizona climate.
Cecil Newell, Yavapai County Community Health Services Public Health Protection Section Manager reported, “YCCHS is performing routine trappings of mosquitos throughout the county - for the West Nile Virus no lab results have come back positive, however, we have found Aedes aegypti species in the Sedona/Village of Oak Creek area.”
Who is at risk?
While we see West Nile virus in our mosquitoes most years, imported Zika cases are new to Arizona and should be a real concern to everyone. Only 20% of those adults infected with Zika will experience any symptoms at all and are very similar to flulike symptoms.
What can you do?
Remove standing water from around your house. The specific mosquito that we have in Yavapai County that transmits most of these diseases is called the Aedes aegypti (ae). Ae likes to stay close to home and won’t travel very far for a blood meal, which is what we call a “mosquito bite.” This means that if we remove the opportunities for reproduction around our homes we dramatically reduce the chances of being bit. Mosquitoes need water to reproduce, so by removing all standing water we remove the breeding grounds. This includes water dishes, bird baths, tires, anything that can hold as little as an inch of water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Larvae in standing water.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast- feeding women.
o Reapply insect repellent as directed.
o Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
o If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent
o If you have a baby or child: Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
o Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs, or cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
o Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
- Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last. If treating clothing items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully. Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
When do I need to take action?
Now. Start looking around the exterior of your home and remove or overturn anything that can hold water.
Where do I need to take action?
Start in your own backyard. With Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Yavapai County, YCCHS wants to encourage and educate the public on the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
WHY do I need to take action?
To protect yourself, your family and your neighbors.
For more information, see Arizona Department of Health Services webpage: http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-services/zika/topics/index.php.