The state and county Health Departments have confirmed the first case of West Nile Virus in a human this year. A Maricopa County woman in her 30s was declared the first official West Nile victim of 2012 on Wednesday. She was diagnosed with the meningitis form of the disease, which along with encephalitis are the most serious strains that often require hospitalization.
“Here we go again,” said Bob England, Director of the Maricopa County Health Department. “This is our first, it certainly won’t be our last. It happens this time of year or so, every year. West Nile is a fact of life here, we have to learn to live with it. It is here to stay.”
2010 was Maricopa County’s second-worst West Nile year on record, with 115 cases. 2011 was relatively mild – just 45 infections.
England says there are a lot of complicated and hard to predict factors that determine how bad a year it will be, but the best solution is prevention. If you’re getting bitten, put on bug repellent, long sleeves, or just go inside; and drain any standing water that mosquitoes could breed in.