Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Mon, Dec. 09

Residents reminded of West Nile virus<br>

Algae and trash stagnate at the base of the Santa Fe Dam, a potential mosquito-breeding site in the Williams area.

The state’s total number of reported cases jumped up to 114 after 47 new reports of the virus came in last Thursday. Most of these cases are in Maricopa County with a handful appearing in adjacent counties.

In September 2003, a dead crow carrying the virus was found in the Williams area – this was the first appearance of the virus in Coconino County. So far, 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties have reported the virus in their area, including the Navajo Nation.

Eden said that they are finding an increasing number of people of all ages becoming infected.

People over 50 years of age have the highest risk for affliction because the virus can be defeated by the average immune system. In a mild case of the virus, symptoms may appear 2-15 days after a mosquito bite, and may cause a slight fever and/or headache. More severe infections may cause high fever, headache, confusion, weakness and muscle aches — which may be fatal. For those who become infected, there is no available treatment, there is only prevention.

West Nile virus cannot be transmitted from one human to another or even back into mosquitoes from an infected human because all animals are a dead-end host. Birds like crows, sparrows and finches carry the virus and pass it on to mosquitoes, which in turn transmit it to other birds and the cycle continues The ADHS recommends the following steps to reduce human and livestock infections:

• Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Check for items outside the home that collect water, such as cans, bottles, jars, buckets, old tires, drums and other containers.

• Change water in flower vases, bird baths and animal watering pans at least twice a week.

• Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently.

• Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes when going outside at night by using insect repellant.

• Wear lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs during dawn or dusk, or in areas where mosquitoes are active.

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