Nathan Krombeen examines a mosquito trap he set near his Williams home.
On Sept. 15, CCDHS officials contacted the Krombeen Family in Williams after learning the family lived near a creek and had numerous animals — including chickens. The CCDHS obtained blood tests from two of the Krombeen’s chickens and left behind two mosquito traps. Nathan Krombeen set the traps that evening at dusk.
The blood collected from the chickens and the mosquitoes were sent to the University of Arizona’s Diagnostic Testing Lab. If the blood or mosquitoes test positive for the West Nile virus, the results will be known by the end of the week.
“When the dead crow was tested, we received the results three days later,” said Environmental Health Program Manager Marlene Gaither.
Humans may contract West Nile virus primarily through mosquito bites. However, the risk is small, especially with recent low evening temperatures, which decrease mosquito activity.
Persons over the age of 50 are at higher risk for serious illness. Most people exhibit no symptoms; however, in mild cases of West Nile, symptoms — including slight fever and/or headache — may appear 2-15 days after a mosquito bite. High fever, headache, confusion, muscle aches, and weakness mark more severe infections, including encephalitis. Very severe infections can be fatal. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus other than supportive care, and there is no vaccine available for humans.
The best prevention against West Nile virus in humans is to avoid mosquito bites. Citizens are encouraged to wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active and to use mosquito repellent. In order to keep mosquitoes away, citizens are also encouraged to:
• Eliminate standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Use landscaping to eliminate standing water on your property.
• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers; or turn them upside down.
• Remove all discarded tires from your property. Used tires have become one of the most common mosquito breeding sites.
• Drill holes in the bottoms of all outdoor recycling containers.
• Drain water from pool covers.
• Check roof gutters for proper drainage, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
• Change the water in birdbaths, pet dishes and flower pots at least twice a week.
• Clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
Canyon Pet Hospital’s Mobile Clinic is in Williams every Tuesday at Canyon Feed & Supply, 614 N. Grand Canyon Blvd. The clinic offers equine West Nile virus vaccinations from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 774-5197.
The CCDHS is actively monitoring horses, chickens, dead wild birds and mosquitoes for the West Nile Virus. Citizens may assist by reporting dead wild birds to CCDHS, but should avoid contact with the dead bird. Call (928) 226-2741 or toll-free at (877) 522-7800 to receive instructions on how to safely collect the bird for testing.
CCDHS also investigates physician reports of encephalitis and meningitis as part of a Statewide surveillance for human cases of West Nile Virus illness.