Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were discovered in La Quinta, officials announced Thursday.
The infected mosquitoes were collected from traps near Avenue 52 and Jefferson Street, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
“It’s not worth the risk. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to make you sick.” said Tammy Gordon, a district spokeswoman. “Know your risk and wear insect repellent to reduce the risk of getting sick.”
So far this year, district technicians have collected mosquitoes infected with WNV from nine traps, mostly on the northern edge of the Salton Sea in the communities of Mecca and North Shore.
There have been no human cases of WNV in Riverside County this year, though there have been four human cases reported in Kern, Fresno, Shasta and San Luis Obispo counties in 2021, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no cure, and one in five of those infected will exhibit symptoms that can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or 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.