Mosquitoes collected from traps in Mecca and Thermal tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first time in 2017 that mosquitoes in the East Valley have tested positive for the virus. The virus-positive mosquitoes were collected from two traps, one near the corner of Lincoln Street and Avenue 70 and the other near Lincoln Street and Avenue 73. The tests were conducted in the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District laboratory.
District staff will post disease notification signs in communities located near the trap locations and will intensify mosquito surveillance with an increase in traps. Technicians will carry out larval and adult control as necessary in the surrounding area in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further transmission of the virus.
“The weather right now is ideal for mosquito production and virus transmission,” said Jennifer Henke, the District Laboratory Manager. “Unfortunately, virus-carrying mosquitoes are out looking for a blood meal right when people are enjoying the pleasant temperatures in the mornings and evenings, so people really need to protect themselves.”
WNV is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are infected when they feed on birds carrying the virus. Most individuals infected with WNV will not experience any illness. Others will have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches. In severe cases, people will need to be hospitalized, and in rare cases the disease can be fatal. Young children, the elderly, or individuals with lowered immune systems are at greater risk of experiencing severe symptoms when infected. Anyone with symptoms should contact their health care provider.
In addition to the WNV-positive mosquito samples, detections of the invasive mosquito species Aedes aegypti continue in Cathedral City, Coachella, Indio, and Palm Springs, with Palm Springs seeing the biggest expansion of the mosquito into new neighborhoods. The District has increased surveillance and control activities in Palm Springs, covering roughly 800 acres, in an effort to rid the community of the Ae. Aegypti.
The invasive mosquito species is not only an aggressive daytime biter, but is also capable of transmitting deadly viruses including dengue, chikungunya, Zika, and yellow fever. These viruses are not currently transmitted in California by mosquitoes, but local transmission could begin if an infected traveler is bitten by one of the invasive mosquitoes in our communities.
The District is asking the public to do all they can to prevent mosquito breeding in their neighborhoods and to report increased mosquito activity.
Prevent mosquitoes around your home:
- Inspect yards for standing water sources and drain water that may have collected under potted plants, in bird baths, discarded tires, and any other items that could collect water.
- Check your rain gutters and lawn drains to make sure they aren’t holding water and debris.
- Clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes weekly.
- Check and clean any new potted plant containers that you bring home because they may have Aedes aegypti eggs. The eggs can remain viable in dry areas for months.
Prevent mosquito bites:
- Avoid going outside when mosquitoes are active.
- Apply repellents containing EPA registered ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label).
- Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active.
- Be sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
As of June 6, 2017, WNV has been detected in 11 counties in California, in 29 mosquito samples, 11 birds, and one person.
Please contact the District at (760) 342-8287 or (888) 343-9399 to report mosquito problems, request mosquitofish, report neglected pools or standing water where mosquitoes breed, and report dead birds. Visit us online at www.cvmvcd.org to obtain more information and submit service requests. For the latest statewide statistics for WNV activity, please visit http://westnile.ca.gov.