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Quartzsite, Arizona

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Protect yourself from West Nile virus


La Paz County, AZ- The current West Nile virus outbreak is the largest in history and La Paz County Health Department wants to remind residents and visitors to take precautions against mosquito bites. “In this area, mosquito activity peaks in mid to late August,” said Marion Shontz, Director of the La Paz County Health Department. “Most mosquitoes do not carry the West Nile but some do and it is our goal is to prevent mosquito bites in the first place.”

Mosquitoes in La Paz County first tested positive for West Nile virus in 2003 and have maintained a presence since then. There are currently 1118 human cases of West Nile virus in the US with the majority of them being in the state of Texas and only 12 of them in Arizona. La Paz County does not have any human cases of West Nile virus. With the rise in human cases it is important for residents to remember to take precautions while outdoors. Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has a website with prevention messages on

Prevention techniques in preventing West Nile virus
Avoid Mosquito Bites
  • Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors at dusk and dawn. 
  • Use a mosquito repellent, following label directions, when outdoors.

Mosquito Proof Your Home
     Remove all standing water
·       Turn over plastic containers, ceramic pots, tin cans, and other similar water-holding containers.
·       Remove discarded tires from your property (used tires are one of the most common mosquito breeding sites).
·       Turn over plastic pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
·       Change the water in the bird baths, pet dishes and flower pots at least twice a week.
·       If it is impossible to remove standing water (ponds, waterways) briquettes that inhibit larvae maturity are available at local hardware stores.
·       Check window screens for holes. Or try attracting animals that naturally feed on mosquitoes by building birdhouses, bat-houses, or filling ponds with mosquito larvae eating fish, called mosquito fish.

Monsoon rains can provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes who often travel several miles for a blood meal. Interestingly, only female mosquitoes rely on blood for sustenance while male mosquitoes feed on nectar. It takes 10-20 days for a mosquito to go from egg to adulthood.

West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness and has been found in 48 of the States.  Most people who are infected with West Nile virus experience no symptoms or may experience mild illness such as a fever, headache, and swollen glands 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  It is estimated that 1% of people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop encephalitis, inflammation of the brain.  Symptoms of encephalitis include high fever, headache, muscle weakness or paralysis, seizures, and confusion.

The La Paz County Health Department is committed to serving and educating the community of La Paz County on all public health issues. For more information please stop by the office at 1112 Joshua Ave suite 206 or give us a call at 928 -669 -1100.  For those online please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at or


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