PHOENIX – West Nile virus has made its first appearance of 2006 in Arizona, showing up in two mosquito samples collected June 27 in La Paz County, the state Department of Health Services said Monday.
The samples were the first mosquito samples to test positive this year, the department said.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
No human cases have been reported in Arizona so far this year though more than 500 residents have been infected with the disease since it arrived in the state in 2003, with 20 deaths attributed to it, the department said.
Residents should take precautions, because mosquitoes breed in standing water and the arrival of summer rains is likely to increase West Nile activity, the department said.
Recommended steps include eliminating standing water and using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing, state Epidemiologist David Engelthaler said.
“One of the most important things we can do is to be sure we are not raising mosquitoes in our pools, ponds and birdbaths,” he said.