Mosquitoes netted in Indio and neighboring locations tested positive for West Nile virus, prompting officials Friday to urge residents to take precautions.
“The wet winter and warm temperatures produced more mosquitoes than we usually have at this time of year, so it is not surprising to see virus activity,” Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District Manager Jeremy Wittie said.
In addition to Indio, mosquitoes trapped in Coachella and Thermal tested positive for the virus, according to Wittie.
“We urge residents across the valley to be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites, given we have detected the virus in … a wide area,” he said.
The district has trapped twice the number of mosquitoes this spring compared to a five-year average, officials said. Insecticide spraying operations started up two weeks ago to suppress mosquito colonies.
No human West Nile virus infections have been reported this year in Riverside County, nor anywhere else in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health. In 2018, over 200 WNV infections were documented statewide, 11 of them fatal, state officials said.
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 result in fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.
Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans from 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.
Coachella Valley residents with questions or concerns were encouraged to contact the CVMVCD at 760-342-8287.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: