Maricopa County officials will try again to apply a mosquito-killing treatment in a Scottsdale neighborhood tonight, after Valleywide dust and rain storms forced them to cancel the project planned for last week.
The county is spraying chemicals in high-risk areas to prevent further spread of the West Nile virus, a deadly mosquito-borne disease that killed 11 Arizonans last year. The chemicals don’t work in stormy conditions so rain and dust could cancel the project again.
If conditions warrant, spray trucks will roll into McCormick Ranch at 10 p.m. to fog the area from Via Linda just south of Mountain View Park, to Via de Ventura and Gainey Ranch Road near Rotary Park, to Pima Road.
The treatment will be Scottsdale’s first mosquito fogging this year, triggered when Maricopa County Environmental Services trapped a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus in the neighborhood.
The county also plans to conduct fogging treatments in Gilbert, Chandler and unincorporated county lands tonight.
There has been an early spike in the number of local West Nile cases in humans this summer, with 13 Arizonans contracting the virus, including 11 in Maricopa County and one in Pinal County. This time last year, there were no reported cases in Arizona.
No human has died in Arizona from the disease this year, but some remain hospitalized. Other states have reported human deaths from West Nile in the 2007 season.
In 2006, the virus infected 150 people and killed 11 in Arizona.
In Maricopa County, the environmental services department routinely checks its 500 mosquito traps to determine whether to fog an area. Authorities fog if any mosquito they catch tests positive for West Nile; if they catch 30 Culex mosquitoes, which are most likely to carry the virus; or if they find 300 mosquitoes of any variety, according to Johnny Diloné, department spokesman.
Though county officials will spray areas when necessary, they try to minimize chemical fogging operations in favor of educational campaigns to prevent breeding mosquitoes, Diloné said.
Fogging kills the adult mosquitoes, but residents can help prevent breeding sites by removing standing water and cleaning dirty pools in their backyards.
“If we can prevent mosquitoes from breeding, we don’t have to do the fogging,” Diloné said.
Protecting yourself from West Nile
Maricopa County Environmental Services plans to fog the following areas for mosquitoes from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday:
• Via Linda just south of Mountain View Park, to Via de Ventura and Gainey Ranch Road near Rotary Park, to Pima Road. Information: For information or to report a mosquito problem or get free mosquito-eating fish, contact Maricopa County Vector Control, (602) 506-0700, or go to www.maricopa.gov/wnv.
• You can also find information online at www.westnileaz.com or call a 24-hour hot line at (800) 314-9243 or (602) 364-4500.
In your yard
• Don’t allow water to stand for more than two days.
• Check for standing water in birdbaths, pet dishes, buckets, cans, outdoor toys, wheelbarrows, old tires, boats and flowerpots.
• Remove any water that collects on pool covers.
• Clear leaves and twigs from eaves, troughs and gutters.
• Fill in low areas in lawns.
• Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, as well as damaged window and door screens.
• Let neighbors know about potential mosquito-breeding grounds on their property, or report stagnant water to the county at (602) 506-6616.
To reduce the chances of being bitten:
• Stay indoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Wear loose-fitting clothing, long sleeves and long pants.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothing as well as exposed skin.
• Do not use insect repellent on children younger than 2.