Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were discovered in Palm Desert, officials announced Monday.
The infected mosquitoes were collected from two traps — one near the Shadow Mountain Golf Club on Portola Avenue, and the other near Highway 74 and Mesa View Drive, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District reported.
“Just one bite from an infected mosquito can make a person sick,” said Tammy Gordon, a district spokeswoman. “We need everyone to cover up and use repellent at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are the most active.”
Vector control officials confirmed there are no reported human cases of West Nile virus in California at the moment.
WNV is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no cure, and one in five infected individuals will exhibit symptoms that can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash. The symptoms can last for several days to months.
One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death.
Those at greatest risk include seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans May to October.
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus, residents are urged to:
— spend as little time as possible outdoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are generally on the move;
— wear pants and long-sleeved shirts during outdoor activity;
— use insect repellent with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
— ensure door and window screens are fitted properly to keep bugs out; and
— get rid of standing water, aside from pools properly treated with chemicals.
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