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The chance of getting sick from a mosquito bite is very rare even in areas where WNV is prevalent. Approximately 80 percent of people who are bitten by a WNV infected mosquito will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance if you will develop an illness or not. Persons over the age of 50 and the Immunocompromised are generally at a higher risk for serious illness.
Currently, there have been no reported cases of WNV being spread directly from live or dead birds to the general public. However, dead birds can carry a variety of other diseases and should never be handled with bare hands. Use gloves or use the inverted plastic bag method to handle the birds, and place the bird in the outdoor trash.
The best way to protect you from WNV, or any other mosquito-borne illness, is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
These are some of the preventative steps that you can easily take: - 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. - Scrub the sides and change water in flower vases, birdbaths, planters and animal watering pans at least twice a week. - Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently. - Wear protective clothing such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts during peak mosquito activity. - Avoid shaded, bushy areas where mosquitoes like to rest. - Limit outdoor evening activity, especially at dusk and down when mosquitoes are most active. - Use insect repellent containing DEET (Please read instructions and use safely).
County and state health workers monitor mosquitoes for mosquito-borne viruses. Mosquito surveillance involves trapping mosquitoes, counting them, identifying which species are present, and testing appropriate species for viruses.
These surveillance methods are used to target areas where mosquito control efforts are needed. Detection and control of mosquito breeding sites depends upon integrated efforts among state, county, and tribal agencies as well as private citizens.
Our dedicated Web site FightTheBiteMaricopa.org contains information about mosquitoes, prevention methods, a map with the routine trap information, such as location and times sprayed; a fogging calendar, and more. You can also call our WNV hotline 602-506-0700 or 602-506-6616.