Scottsdale officials are implementing an aggressive mosquito control program before the West Nile virus makes an appearance.
"Thus far we haven’t found any mosquitoes in Scottsdale, but we need to be proactive rather than reactive," Bill Sturgill, who oversees the city’s mosquito abatement program, said on Friday.
So far, four groups of mosquitoes in Mesa and Chandler have tested positive for the West Nile virus. A horse in north Phoenix who tested positive for the virus last week is recovering, Sturgill said.
If contracted from a mosquito bite, the virus can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness known as West Nile encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.
Scottsdale and Maricopa County officials warn residents to be on the lookout for standing water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
"Look for any kind of container that will hold water after a storm," said John Townsend, coordinator of the county’s mosquito control program. "It doesn’t take a lot of water to breed mosquitoes."
Townsend said swimming pool owners should make sure pumps are circulating properly and that water does not collect anywhere on a property.
Residents are also asked to make sure their irrigation systems do not leak.
Horse properties can also be rich breeding grounds, and owners are asked to drain watering troughs every week.
"Mosquitoes are much less likely to breed in clean water than dirty water," said Jennifer Schleining, a veterinarian at SouthWest Equine Medical and Surgical Center in Scottsdale. "We’ve been lucky so far that no horses in Scottsdale have been infected."
Schleining suggested that people apply animal-friendly mosquito repellent on their horses to protect them.
"Any stagnant water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and that’s why we value our citizens being an extra set of eyes for us," Sturgill said.
Among Scottsdale’s mosquito control efforts:
• Mosquito larvae-eating fish in the City Hall pond.
• Weekly chlorine treatments to a catch basin under the Civic Center Library to try to alleviate a mosquito problem.
• Ordering of a new control for any standing water. A small, briquettelike cube can treat 300 gallons and lasts 30 days. Bags of cubes will be distributed next week to all maintenance compounds.
• At WestWorld, the city has a contract with Marine Biochemists, which regularly treats standing water in seven- to 10-day intervals.
West Nile prevention