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Monsoon season creates higher risk for West Nile Virus contraction

Virus spread through mosquito bites - 13 On Your Side's Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona health experts say this year’s wet monsoon is contributing to a record-high season for the West Nile Virus, even though zero cases have been reported in Yuma so far this year.

The last confirmed case in Yuma County was in 2012, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).

The state of Arizona has reported 123 West Nile Virus cases and four deaths.

The symptoms are similar to influenza and COVID-19, so much so that it can be confusing.

"Many of the people, you know, they will basically be asymptomatic, meaning that they don’t know that they have it. Other people will have fevers or aches, their headaches or back pain. They will experience some symptoms," says Regional Center For Border Health Quality Assurance Manager Marisol Penuelas.

The virus is spread through mosquito bites.

"There will be those that do experience more severe symptoms like encephalitis and do experience a lot more health issues," explains Penuelas.

Anyone age 60 and older and those with weakened immune systems are more prone to severe symptoms, but everyone should be careful.

"Same thing with pregnant women, right. Pregnant women, if they become infected, they can pass the virus to their child," says Penuelas.

The Yuma County Public Health Services District (YCPHSD) says the best course of action is prevention. Wearing long-sleeve shirts and covering your neck, and spraying bug repellents, along with avoiding pools of water can help. Even a small cap-full of water can attract mosquitos.

While there is no vaccine for the West Nile Virus, blood testing for antibodies and PCR testing is available.

Author Profile Photo

Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at arlette.yousif@kecytv.com.

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