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PHOENIX -- The Valley's mosquito population is growing fast as the area gets more rain and humidity due to monsoon season.

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department has nearly 600 mosquito traps set throughout the Valley. Department spokesperson Johnny Diloné said that county officials have also resorted to mosquito fogging at several hundred different sites in the greater Phoenix area.

"We do conduct fogging operations," Diloné said. "We've been conducting fogging this year, but once again, our focus is more in preventing mosquitoes from breeding."

Diloné added, however, that the county can only do so much to prevent the mosquito population from growing. The public can do its part by preventing mosquito breeding sites from growing by getting rid of standing water outside their homes after a monsoon storm, according to Diloné.

He said many Maricopa County residents forget that mosquitoes are prevalent in the area and could be carrying deadly diseases.

"(Residents) seem to believe that we don't have mosquitoes here as much as we do in other more humid, tropical areas," he said. "We have to be careful. We do have a large mosquito population here and we tend to have more of the Culex type of mosquitoes that most likely would carry West Nile."

Diloné said Maricopa County residents should take every precaution necessary to avoid getting bitten this summer. For more information about West Nile Virus in Maricopa County go to www.maricopa.gov/wnv.

Cooper Rummell,

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