The Mohave County Department of Public Health announced Friday that mosquitoes found in the area of Body Beach have tested positive for West Nile virus. But that didn’t stop people from enjoying the beach Saturday.
The county’s environmental health division monitors mosquitoes throughout Mohave County, and routinely tests certain species for the virus. As a safety precaution, the health department recommends that visitors and residents avoid the area of Body Beach.
Notices were posted on a wooden sign at the street entrance of Body Beach Saturday, warning residents and visitors to take caution and avoid the area. But Body Beach was far from empty Saturday afternoon.
Beachgoers Robert and Janice Eldridge weren’t worried about the mosquitoes in the least. They were visiting from Las Vegas, deciding to make a trip to the water after selling an engine to someone in town. They weren’t aware of the West Nile virus confirmation initially.
“We’re not concerned about either virus,” Robert said with a chuckle, referring to the coronavirus.
The beach remains open for now, but City Manager Jess Knudson said he understands the county health department reached out to the Arizona State Land Department to notify them that they need to address the presence of West Nile virus at various locations on their property, from the Body Beach area to the Contact Point area.
“We’re confident that ASLD will take the appropriate action,” Knudson said.
Visitors and residents can also reduce their risk of contracting the virus with insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites during the active season, the health department says.
Outdoor activities in Havasu should be avoided at dawn and dusk.
“The treatment of West Nile virus is mainly preventative and supportive,” Havasu’s Dr. Khamranie Persaud said. “To prevent it, wear long sleeves, white clothing to easily spot mosquitoes, avoiding insect bites, wearing mosquito repellent, and draining the standing water where the mosquitoes are thought to breed. Once infected, the treatment is supportive —fluids, rest, Tylenol. Seek medical attention for mental status changes since West Nile virus can cause meningitis and encephalitis.”