Landscaping Health and Security Risks

As many HVR1 residents are returning from cooler climates for the fall season, you may have missed the summer dust storms.  While these are often stunning displays of nature, the dust storms create a serious risk to all who live in the Valley.  Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) spores are carried by the dust storms and deposited wherever dust settles.  We know it is here in HVR1 as it has infected both humans and dogs in our community.  It can be fatal to both.

Who Is at Risk of Contracting Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)?

You are at risk of getting Valley Fever if you spend time in an area where Coccidioides fungi are endemic (commonly found).  Your risk is increased if you are in an endemic area when the soil is disturbed by weather or human activities such as landscaping or construction.  This causes the release of fungus spores into the air, where they are easily inhaled.

You also have an increased risk of getting the chronic or disseminated forms if you have a weak immune system, have diabetes, or are elderly.  Pregnant women and new mothers are more prone to developing a serious form of Valley Fever.

See http://www.healthline.com/health/coccidioidomycosis#Risks for the full article.

Raking the soil breaks the hard surface and blowing distributes the dust and Coccidioides spores (especially when the blowers are used on windy days). Additionally, the dust may cause problems with those who suffer from asthma. With an understanding of the health risk this causes, anyone using a landscape service that rakes or uses blowers should advise them to stop doing this.

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A summary of the burglaries in HVR1 shows the following

  • They occur during the daytime – about 8:30 to 2:30 when homes are more likely to be empty
  • Most have occurred on Ranch Gate or on the periphery
  • The frequency is about the same as other areas around us – HVR1 is not being targeted

The City of Scottsdale Police addressed this issue at the Annual Meeting in April 2013.

Note also that raking your dirt driveway can be a giveaway that no one is home (undisturbed for more than a day) or that an occupant has left and not returned (single track).  Perhaps this gives the burglars too much mental credit, but it is something to consider.

Newspapers left out and trash cans out early or late can also be clues.