Confirmation of West Nile virus among mosquitoes in Murrieta and growing infestations of the pests in Nuevo will require vector control officials to conduct eradication operations in both locations next week, it was announced Friday.

The Riverside County Department of Environmental Health has scheduled “ultra-low volume” insecticide spraying throughout a 3 1/2-mile space in Nuevo on Tuesday.

Although none of the mosquitoes recently trapped in the area have tested positive for West Nile, large concentrations of the pests warrant action to protect public health, according to agency spokeswoman Dottie Merki.

Spraying operations are set for 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesday around Mystic Field and along Lakeview and Reservoir avenues, as well 10th Street.

Merki said spraying is also planned in the 36-acre Monroe Basin in west Murrieta, where a batch of mosquitoes netted last week tested positive for WNV.

Spray treatments are scheduled between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday and will be focused just east of Interstate 15, along Monroe and Jackson avenues. Vector control officials have carried out several previous spraying operations in the same general area this summer.

Merki said a “very small number” of mosquitoes trapped last week near the intersection of Heacock Street and Parkland Avenue in Moreno Valley tested positive for West Nile, but because the population size is insignificant, no spraying is planned.

Anti-mosquito spraying involves the use of chemicals approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pesticides are emitted as a mist dispersed from machines anchored in the backs of pickup trucks.

Merki recommended that during operations, residents stay indoors and keep windows closed until at least 15 minutes after the trucks have departed.

Five human West Nile virus infections have been reported in Riverside County so far this year. Statewide, more than 100 WNV infections have been recorded, four of which were fatal, according to the California Department of Public Health.

An online map showing West Nile hotspots countywide is available here: http://www.rivcoph.org/Home/WestNileMap.aspx .

Mosquitoes typically become carriers of the virus after feeding on an infected bird and can then spread the potentially lethal strain to animals and humans. Those at greatest risk include seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms may never materialize, but can include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.

Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans May to October. To reduce exposure to mosquitoes carrying WNV, yellow fever, Zika and other diseases, 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;

— 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.

Anyone with concerns should contact the Department of Environmental Health at (951) 766-9454.

–City News Service

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