West Nile mosquito
Mosquitoes can transmit the viruses that cause West Nile fever. Photo by Noah Poritz, courtesy United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service

Riverside County vector control officials will conduct anti-mosquito spraying Wednesday in Nuevo, covering a total 300 acres, to eradicate growing infestations that pose a potential risk to public health.

The Department of Environmental Health has scheduled “ultra-low volume” insecticide spraying between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Wednesday in the following three locations: near Mystic Field, specifically in the area of Lakeview and Magnolia avenues; between Reservoir and Lakeview avenues; and between Ninth and 10th streets, west of Yucca Avenue.

According to Department of Environmental Health spokesman Brent Casey, concentrations of mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile virus have raised concerns about the potential for it to be transmitted.

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.

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

No human WNV infections have been documented in Riverside County this year. Statewide, two infections have been recorded, in Central and Northern California, according to the California Department of Public Health.

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, residents are urged to:

— spend as little time as possible outdoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are generally on the move;

— wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts during outdoor activity in mosquito-prone areas;

— 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.

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