Record-setting rainfall leaves behind increased mosquito population around the Valley

PHOENIX - The monsoon may be long gone, but the mosquitoes are still hanging around thanks to record-setting rainfall the Valley received last month.
 
A lot of rain and pleasant fall temperatures has mosquito season buzzing right along, but there’s not much we can do about it, according to Dr. Kirk Smith with Maricopa County Environmental Services.
 
“As this county continues to grow and we put down more grass and more water, we're just kind of exacerbating our own problem,” said Smith.
 
The kind of mosquito lingering around the Valley right now is known as the ankle biter, Aedes aegypti, it's also known to carry things like dengue fever and Zika virus.
 
“The State Department and County is worried about those diseases someday making it into Arizona,” said Smith. “If that happens, then this ankle biter is going to be the vector for these diseases.”
 
With a Zika outbreak currently ongoing just to our south in Sonora Mexico, the County Vector Control Lab is on high alert and already equipped to test trapped mosquitoes for the dangerous virus.
 
“Right now there are more than 100 cases of Zika down in Sonora, so there is some concern,” said Smith.
 
So far, no mosquitoes in Maricopa County have tested positive for Zika, but the Vector Control Lab has counted over 250 mosquitoes that have been carrying either West Nile Virus or St. Louis Encephalitis.
 
“We've had a lot of positive mosquitoes with the disease, unfortunately, all it takes it that one little mosquito biting you and you may or may not react to it,” said Smith.
 
Relief will soon be on the way. As overnight temperatures start to drop into the 40s and 50s, the mosquito population should begin to die off.

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