Community Health Update: West Nile Virus in Yavapai County Residents

Published on September 22, 2023

YCCHS West Nile Update:

West Nile virus has recently been identified in humans in Yavapai County. This virus in humans is not new to Yavapai County, and Yavapai County Community Health Services personnel are closely monitoring the situation. See the following information for what West Nile virus is, its symptoms, the proper response for the population and the most vulnerable, how you can reduce your chance of contracting the virus, and what to do if you are infected.

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito borne disease in Arizona. Most individuals (80%) infected with West Nile virus will not have any signs or symptoms of disease.

• Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, swollen glands, and muscle weakness. Symptoms lasts days to weeks.

• The elderly and chronically ill are at greater risk for serious complications from the West Nile virus.

West Nile virus is only spread through mosquitoes and won’t spread through human contact.

• Infected humans cannot spread West Nile virus to other, non-infected mosquitoes.

• Common animal carriers of West Nile (after being bitten by a mosquito) like horses and birds cannot spread West Nile to humans.

• Blood transfusions and certain perinatal circumstances can transmit West Nile virus.

Prevent mosquitoes and prevent West Nile virus.

• Mosquitoes breed in wet, warm areas with standing water. Removal and management of these areas reduces the number of mosquitoes near your residence.

• Traditional mosquito repellants and thick clothing that reduces available bare skin for the mosquitoes will reduce exposure and risk. Repellant candles or scents also work.

You believe you have West Nile Virus. What do you do?

• Report the situation to your doctor or healthcare provider.

• There is no vaccine for West Nile virus. Natural recovery is the only solution. This is why prevention is critical for everyone, but especially the most vulnerable.

• If you experience serious symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, or neck stiffness then seek medical assistance immediately.

The regular routines people follow shouldn’t be disrupted by the appearance of West Nile virus in Yavapai County. You can use general mosquito bite prevention measures such as wearing long pants and long sleeves, wearing a mosquito repellent when outdoors, or avoiding areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. YCCHS will continue these updates as more information becomes available. More information about West Nile is available from the AZDHS website.