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Mosquito Infestations Possible After Recent Flooding

Arizona health officials are preparing for a potential mosquito infestation after this week’s heavy rainfall.  A lot of standing water encourages the pests to breed and that’s raising concerns about spread of West Nile Virus.

Heavy downpours initially kill off many adult mosquitoes and their eggs, but when things start drying out, the insects can reproduce quickly in temporary ponds and puddles. 

So far this year in Maricopa County, there have been four human fatalities linked to West Nile Virus and 24 non-lethal cases. 

“This year what we’ve seen so far is that the number of positive mosquitoes are increasing and after all this rain we will likely see these numbers go up" said Johnny Dilone with the Maricopa County Environmental Service Department.

He said Maricopa County sets up about 600 mosquito traps every week and the bugs are tested for the disease before officials decide to spray insecticide. Dilone said the county uses an environmentally friendly chemical and all spraying happens late at night when most people are indoors. 


KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.