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Mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus

mosquitoThe best way for residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around the home and take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Chandler and Maricopa County are encouraging the public to do the "West Nile Walk." Walking around a property after a storm can help to identify and eliminate any potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes that may have been created by our seasonal rains.

West Nile Precautions

  • Eliminating standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Checking for standing water in bird baths, pet dishes, buckets, cans, cups, outside toys, wheelbarrows, old tires, boats and flowerpots.
  • Removing any water that collects on pool covers.
  • Clearing leaves and twigs from eaves, awnings and gutters. 
  • Repairing leaky pipes and outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently.
  • Avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes when going outside at night by using insect repellent.
  • Wearing lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs.

To report a mosquito problem or to get mosquito-eating fish at no charge, please call 602-506-0700.

Bird Surveillance for West Nile Virus
Because West Nile Virus causes death in birds, we expect dead birds to be the first warning of West Nile Virus activity in an area. Since West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes feeding on infected birds, Maricopa County will be testing dead bird specimens for its presence.

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Division (MCESD) will record and analyze dead bird reports, which will be used to identify areas for intensified surveillance of virus activity including bird testing, mosquito trapping and active disease surveillance.

If you should find a dead bird, please report it to the West Nile Virus Hotline at 602-506-0700.

Upon submitting a report, citizens will be advised of the delivery process.

Please note these guidelines:

1) The bird must be freshly dead (less than 24 hours)
2) Not scavenged, no odor, no maggots, ants or other insects
3) Body must NOT be soft and mushy
4) Must NOT be a baby bird
5) Must NOT be a pigeon

Birds must be kept chilled. Do not freeze. Freezing will kill the virus, if the virus is present. When handling the bird, please use gloves or the inverted plastic bag method.

These reports will be summarized and provided to the state health department. See Arizona Department of Health Services for current statewide updates.

Availability of Mosquito Fish
The Maricopa County Vector Control Division offers residents a natural way to control mosquitoes in private drainage areas and water features. Vector Control staff will provide mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) to residents wishing to stock them in their birdbaths, ornamental ponds or drainage ways. Maricopa County residents interested in obtaining the fish should call 602-506-0701, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents must first call for availability and then pick the fish up from Vector Control offices located at 3220 W. Gibson Lane, Suite 500, in Phoenix. To file a mosquito complaint, call 602-506-6616.

Additional Links

 

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has a West Nile Virus Public Information Hotline at 602-747-7500. The hotline operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week and provides current health information regarding the West Nile Virus.

The Centers for Disease Control also has a hotline manned by CDC operators from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Arizona time).

The phone numbers are:

888-246-2675 (English)
888-246-2857 (Spanish)
866-874-2646 (TTY)