Palm Desert Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus, First - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

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Palm Desert Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus, First in Urban Area

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Palm Desert, CA -

Palm Desert is the first urban area in the Coachella Valley where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) this year. The virus was detected in one mosquito sample collected from a District trap located near the intersection Elkhorn and Fred Waring. Eight additional mosquito samples tested positive for WNV in Mecca, Thermal, and Oasis. This brings the total number of positive mosquito samples to 57 this year. No human cases have been reported in the Coachella Valley. 

In an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt virus transmission, District staff will post disease signs in affected communities to alert residents. Staff will also perform enhanced mosquito surveillance and control in the Palm Desert detection area to reduce the number of virus carrying mosquitoes.

District staff will be carrying out aerial ultra-low volume (ULV) applications in the Mecca, Thermal and Oasis area where we continue to find WNV infected adult mosquitoes. Applications are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, July 11-12 between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 am, weather permitting.  All products used are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the purpose of controlling mosquitoes and protecting public health. The products are applied according to label instructions by trained and state certified technicians. Although the District’s mosquito control products pose low risk, some people may prefer to avoid exposure by staying inside or away from the area during and for 30 minutes following the application.

“We have active West Nile virus transmission in rural and urban areas and we don’t want anyone getting sick” says Jeremy Wittie, General Manager at the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD). “Valley residents and visitors need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and do their part to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.”

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.

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 mosquito eggs. Some 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 July 10, 2017 WNV has been detected in 14 counties in California, in 412 mosquito samples, 39 birds and three humans.

Please contact the District at (760) 342-8287 to report mosquito problems, neglected pools, standing water where mosquitoes breed, and to request mosquitofish. Please report dead birds to the West Nile Virus Hotline at (877) 968-2473. 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.

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