PHOENIX (November 14, 2022)—Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has identified one person with dengue, a disease that spreads through mosquitoes, who might have been exposed by an infected mosquito in Maricopa County. Routine mosquito surveillance performed by Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) has detected the dengue virus in a mosquito trap in one neighborhood in the county.
To learn if other people have been infected in that neighborhood, Public Health teams will be visiting neighborhood residents to offer free, voluntary at-home blood testing. These teams will also include Environmental Services representatives offering information for preventing bites and mosquito breeding around their homes. This is in addition to mosquito testing that MCESD is conducting in traps countywide to look for any other infected mosquitos.
“While previous dengue cases in Maricopa County have been related to travel to countries where dengue commonly occurs, it is important to understand if others could have been exposed or if this is an isolated incident.” said Dr. Nick Staab, medical epidemiologist. “This is in addition to our routine investigations of anyone suspected to have dengue or other mosquito-borne diseases.”
Maricopa County field teams of staff and volunteers will go into the neighborhood to offer dengue testing to residents ages five years and older along with mosquito prevention kits to avoid mosquito bites in the future. The test will identify evidence of infection in the last several months, even if a person has not had symptoms.
“This simple test can provide information that is valuable to our residents and, on a neighborhood level, to Public Health,” added Dr. Staab. “When we look at results of this testing and mosquito testing across the county, we can determine if there is any risk to others and what Public Health, Environmental Services, and other partners can do to prevent illness.”
Homes in the specific neighborhood will receive a postcard on their door notifying them of the upcoming visit, including dates and how to get more information. Field teams will then go door-to-door over the next week to offer the voluntary, at-home testing, prevention kits and provide information on how test results will be shared with those who are tested or with their legal guardians.
Dengue is an illness caused by the bite of an infected mosquito. All cases previously identified in Maricopa County have been related to travel. About one in four infected individuals will develop symptoms. Of those, most will have mild, flu-like symptoms, but some people—about one in twenty people with symptoms—can get severely ill, especially if they have been infected with dengue before.
For more information on mosquito-borne illness in Maricopa County, tips for fighting mosquitoes, and more, visit FightTheBiteMaricopa.org.