Arizona Is Now Seeing More West Nile Cases Than Any Other State, And Seven Residents Have Died From The Disease This Year Alone
Those who assume that mosquitoes are only abundant in humid regions of the US are wrong, as the driest region of the US sees a higher rate of West Nile virus disease cases than any other region in the country, including subtropical and tropical regions like southern Florida and Hawaii. Arizona has emerged as the state with the highest number of west Nile-infected residents, and surprisingly, most cases are occurring in southern Arizona where the climate is particularly dry.
The significant increase in West Nile virus cases this year does not surprise researchers who found mosquito populations to be unusually high last spring. The high mosquito population this year is due to the relatively rainy 2018-2019 winter season in Arizona, which provided the first generation of urban-dwelling mosquito species with an abundance of stagnant water sources that were ideal for breeding.
Most of these breeding sites are located on residential and urban properties where rainwater collects within various objects commonly found on lawns. For example, bird baths, garbage and recycle bins, ornamental ponds, potted plants, tires, wheelbarrows, clogged gutters, water puddles beneath outdoor faucets, children’s toys, and ground depressions can all gather rainwater where massive numbers of mosquito eggs can develop into adult mosquitoes within a period of 7 to 10 days. Simply removing these water sources from residential lawns would drastically decrease the rate of West Nile disease cases, as urban mosquitoes rely primarily on these water sources for breeding.
Seven deaths have occurred in Arizona this year alone due to West Nile infection, and the latest statistics released a week ago show that most West Nile infections have been contracted in Maricopa County this year. Currently in Maricopa County, 135 confirmed West Nile cases and three more probable cases have been documented, which far outnumbers the usual 20 West Nile cases that are recorded at this time of year in Arizona. Both federal and state officials are now working together to reduce disease-carrying mosquito populations in Arizona.
Have you noticed mosquito swarms within your neighborhood this year?