There are tons of mosquito repellents on the market, but which ones are most effective? According to sciencenews.org, “spray-on repellents with DEET or a refined tree extract called oil of lemon eucalyptus are most likely to keep you bite-free.”
Health officials have confirmed the first death in Maricopa County from West Nile virus since this year’s mosquito season began in May.
Overall, 19 human cases of West Nile have been reported in the county this season, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said in a press release Friday.
The person who died was identified only as an “older adult who also suffered from additional health issues.”
“With all the recent rain we’ve had, it’s likely we’ll see more mosquito activity. Apply insect repellent and cover up whenever you are outdoors, and do your part to rid your property of water where mosquitoes like to breed,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of the Disease Control Division for the county.
West Nile virus is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause severe illness in people and horses, although only about 20 percent of those infected will develop any symptoms at all, health official said. Older adults are most at risk for serious complications of West Nile virus.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, and muscle weakness. Rarely, i more severe symptoms can develop, including high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain, a serious condition that can lead lead to paralysis or death.
Mosquito season in the Phoenix area typically lasts from May into October before cool, drier weather sets in.
Officials are urging residents to take precautions to fight mosquito bites both day and night.
Among the recommendations:
• Wear lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs
• Use insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or other EPA registered repellants according to the product label. on exposed skin and clothing
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and remain closed
• Drain and remove containers that hold water from around your home where mosquitoes can breed, such as plastic covers, buckets, old tires, plant trays, pet bowls, toys, and boats
• Make sure swimming pools and water features are properly maintained. If the water is not regularly circulating it can become stagnant and attract mosquitoes.
The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) conducts a a year-round mosquito surveillance and abatement program. So far this year, the agency’s lab has confirmed 62 West Nile virus-positive mosquito samples and tw0 Saint Louis encephalitis-positive mosquito samples.
No trap has tested positive for Zika, Chikungunya, or Dengue, which are other diseases that can can be carried by mosquitoes, officials said.
In 2016, Maricopa County had 95 positive West Nile mosquito samples with 63 West Nile virus human cases and five deaths.
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