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Phoenix, AZ  85004
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MCDPH Confirms First West Nile Virus Death of 2013

Contact: Jeanene Fowler, Maricopa County Public Health: (602) 722-1806

Johnny Dilone, Maricopa County Environmental Services: (602) 525-2423


Maricopa County Public Health Confirms First West Nile Virus Death of 2013


PHOENIX (July 31, 2013) - After reporting 6 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus infection this season to date, Maricopa County Department of Public Health announced today its first death of the season from the disease. The victim was an elderly woman with underlying health issues.


“This is another sad reminder of the seriousness of West Nile virus,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “I can’t remind people enough, one of the easiest things we can do to reduce West Nile virus in our community is to reduce the mosquito population. We do this by getting rid of all the places on our properties that have standing water where mosquitoes can breed.”


WNV is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Although most don’t get any symptoms at all, approximately 20 percent of people infected with the virus will feel flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Less than 1 percent of people who are infected with WNV will experience severe symptoms, such as meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis, and even death. People over the age of 50 are generally at a higher risk for severe symptoms. If a person thinks he or she has WNV symptoms, he or she should consult their health care provider.

Residents should take the following precautions:

  • Wear lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs when mosquitoes are active (dusk and dawn) and use an insect repellent containing DEET if you must be outdoors.
  • Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around your property. Drain standing water in potted plants, tires and other containers.
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
  • Keep fountains, animal troughs and swimming pools properly operating and free from debris.

In 2012, Maricopa County had 88 lab-confirmed cases and 4 deaths; in 2011, 45 lab confirmed cases and 2 deaths; and, in 2010, Maricopa County recorkauraded its second worst West Nile virus season with 115 lab confirmed cases and 12 deaths. (The worst season was in 2004 with 355 confirmed cases and 14 deaths.) West Nile virus was first found in Arizona in 2003.

For more information on West Nile virus, public health assistance, to report green pools or file any mosquito related complaint, and for WNV materials or presentations for your group/organization, call (602) 506-0700 or visit



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