Aug 4, 2013 12:37 AM by Rebecca Taylor
TUCSON - As the monsoon kicks up, so does the danger of West Nile, a virus brought on by mosquitoes.
This year, there's been a total of 54 cases nationwide according to the CDC, with four deaths including an elderly woman in Maricopa County.
To reduce the mosquito population, experts say it's simple, get rid of standing water.
Along the Rillito River Walk bats fly, nature's way of eliminating mosquitoes. But bats can't do the job alone.
Tourist Jim Hollis says, "Well in Arizona they seem to be a nuisance just like anywhere else."
"They're always a problem, I don't welcome mosquitoes," says Tucsonan Mark Sahlberg.
News 4 Tucson's Rebecca Taylor asks, "What do you do to protect yourself from pesky skeeters?"
Ten year old Isaac Averill says, "I sometimes use the spray, or I just try to run as much as possible."
If you can't out-run them, wear protective clothing at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active. Use an insect repellent containing Deet. And drain standing water in potted plants, fountains and pet bowls or change it frequently.
If you can't eliminate the water, then you need to treat it. Mosquito dunks are a cost effective option according to local epidemiologist Michael Acoba. He says they kill the mosquito larvae and they're safe for pets and wildlife.
Mosquito season in Arizona typically runs now through October.
Those with weakened immune systems have the greatest risk for serious illness.
Symptoms of West Nile include headache, body aches, fever and rash.
Hollis says, "Well it troublesome because your concerned about something as small as that, and how it can affect your health."
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