Winter rains may have made the Coachella Valley extra lush over the past few weeks, but officials warn that those conditions likely will precipitate a flood of mosquitoes and their attendant viruses to the desert.
“A combination of an unusually wet winter and a spike in temperatures could result in increased mosquito-borne virus activity, such as West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis,” officials from the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District said. (We are) “currently trapping twice the mosquitoes than is normal this time of year when compared to the 5-year average.”
The factors indicate both an early and active mosquito season ahead.
Due to the increased risk of mosquito-borne viruses, officials ask Coachella Valley residents to dump or drain any standing water to help eliminate the deadly critter’s breeding and nesting ground.
“If people make mosquito prevention a weekly routine, just like taking out the trash, that’s when we will see real reductions in mosquitoes,” District Public Information Manager Jill Oviatt said.
Other virus prevention techniques include: checking rain gutters for trapped water, avoiding the outdoors between dawn and dusk, wearing EPA registered mosquito repellant and long-sleeved shirts and, finally, ensuring that window and door screens do not have any holes that the bugs can crawl in through.
While no deadly mosquito-related viruses were reported in the Coachella Valley last year, the California Department of Public Health noted 218 West Nile virus cases statewide — 11 of which were fatal.
If anyone sees stagnant water sources or dead birds, call CVMVCD officials at 760-342-8287 or contact them online at www.cvmvcd.org/contact.htm .
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