Maricopa County Has The Most West Nile Virus Cases In The U.S. Right Now

By Madeline Nelson
Published: Monday, September 2, 2019 - 10:33am
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2019 - 11:22am

Early spring rains have led to an outbreak of the West Nile virus spread by mosquitoes in the Phoenix area.

The Valley has the highest number of cases anywhere in the country right now with 136 confirmed cases, said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director of disease control at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

“West Nile Virus can cause a very mild disease all the way to a severe disease. And that’s what makes it so challenging is that the milder form of the disease, which only affects 1 in 5 people who are infected, is really just fever, headaches, chills and body aches.”

Mild forms of West Nile are characterized by flu-like symptoms. More serious forms mimic those of meningitis and need medical attention.

Ten people have died in Maricopa County from the West Nile Virus since it first came to Arizona in 2004. 

Sunenshine urges people wear insect repellent, pants and long sleeves and eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed. Madeline Nelson, KJZZ News, Phoenix.

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