As summer storms continue to enliven Marana’s desert landscape with precious rain, it is critical for those spending time outdoors to take proper precautions against mosquito-borne diseases. Every year, West Nile Virus presents a potential risk, and this year, in particular, Southern Arizona has seen a rise in reported cases of St. Louis Encephalitis. These two diseases share similar symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, and muscle weakness. In very rare cases, they can cause severe illness involving the brain and nervous system. These people, typically over 50 years old, experience severe headache, neck stiffness, and/or encephalitis or inflammation of brain, which can lead to paralysis or death.
Despite the risks surrounding these diseases, a few simple safeguards can dramatically reduce the risk of infection.
- Wear lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs and use an insect repellent when outdoors when mosquitoes are active. Always follow the directions on the label.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight fitting screens and remain closed.
- Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around the home by removing standing water in potted plants, tires, bird baths and other containers where water may collect.
- Ensure that swimming pools and decorative water features are properly maintained.
- Change water in flowerpots, birdbaths and pet watering bowls located outdoors at least twice per week.
If you are concerned that you or a member of your family may be infected, please contact your primary healthcare provider. For more information, you can visit Pima County’s Fight the Bite campaign page.