Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus were recently netted in Oasis, prompting environmental health officials Wednesday to remind residents to take precautions.
According to the Coachella Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District, a state-run lab confirmed that mosquito samples collected in the last week in the area of Avenue 60 and Buchanan Street tested positive for West Nile.
It’s the first batch of WNV hosts identified in Oasis this year, officials said.
“One bite from one infected mosquito can make a person sick,” CVMVCD General Manager Jeremy Wittie said. “This is exactly why we are urging residents to avoid mosquito bites to reduce the risk of getting sick. We urge everyone to cover up and use repellent at dawn and dusk when virus-carrying mosquitoes are the most active.”
According to the agency, mosquitoes collected in Mecca throughout the summer have tested positive for both WNV and St. Louis encephalitis. The most recent samples originated from traps set near Avenue 70 and Lincoln Street, as well as Avenue 70 and Pierce Street, Avenue 72 and Buchanan Street, and Avenue 71 and Colfax Street, officials said.
So far this year, two Riverside County residents — one from Eastvale and the other from Riverside — have suffered West Nile-related infections. Both recovered.
The California Department of Public Health has documented a total 21 human WNV cases to date in 2018. Last year, there were 553 cases, 44 of them fatal, agency data showed.
In Riverside County, 33 human infections were recorded in 2017, and 10 in 2016. The last WNV-related fatality was in 2015, according to health officials.
Mosquitoes typically become carriers of West Nile 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 WNV, 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, especially in the early morning and evening hours;
— 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 WNV, mosquitoes, neglected pools or standing water can contact the vector control district at (760) 342-8287, or the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health at (951) 955-8980.
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