With potentially deadly mosquito-borne viruses continuing to be detected in the Coachella Valley, vector control officials began further pesticide spray applications Thursday morning in an effort that will continue through the weekend.
Targeted mosquito eradication efforts are scheduled through Saturday from 2 a.m to 6 a.m. each morning in Palm Desert and Indian Wells, in an area where mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis were previously collected from traps, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
In Palm Desert, crews will concentrate their efforts generally in residential neighborhoods near Highway 74 and Haystack Road. Efforts in La Quinta will take place in residential neighborhoods southwest of Portola Avenue and Fairway Drive.
District technicians will be spraying an insecticide called DeltaGard, which quickly kills adult mosquitoes but “biodegrades quickly in the presence of sunlight,” according to Tammy Gordon, a district spokeswoman.
“The applications are made at very low dosages, which ensure minimal risk to people and pets,” she said. “However, you may choose to stay indoors during and for 30 minutes following the application as a best practice to reduce exposure.”
Vector control officials say 21 mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus have been found in traps in the cities of Palm Desert, Cathedral City and Indian Wells so far this year.
The Coachella Valley thus far has no reported human cases of the virus, which is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. But 2020’s first human case in Southern California was reported Tuesday in Long Beach. It was the second human case of the virus reported in the state this year, the first occurring in Stanislaus County.
The eight human cases of West Nile in the Coachella Valley in 2019 was the highest number in the region since the virus was first detected in 2003, according to district officials.
In 2015, Riverside County logged 138 WNV infections and six deaths.
One in five individuals infected with the virus, for which there is no cure, exhibit symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or skin rash. The symptoms can last from 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.
Nearly four dozen mosquitoes infected with St. Louis Encephalitis — a viral disease that can be transmitted to humans and initially cause flu-like symptoms, and in rare cases, death — have been found this year in traps predominately in the eastern Coachella Valley. No human cases have been reported so far.
Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans May to October.
Details on the district’s spraying operations can be found at www.cvmosquito.org/public-health-threats/pages/current-application- activities-0.
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