Vector control officials Thursday expect to conclude another round of mosquito pesticide spray applications designed to fend off potentially deadly mosquito-borne viruses in the Coachella Valley,amid news that a man from nearby Imperial County has died of West Nile virus.
Robert Mears, 74, of Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea shoreline, died of the virus at a San Diego hospital. He’s the first known person to die of West Nile virus in California this year.
The total number of positive samples for West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley so far this year is 284 as of last week. That’s more than the last four years combined, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District spokeswoman Tammy Gordon said. Mosquitoes carrying St. Louis encephalitis virus have also been detected.
Both illnesses are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. There have been no reported human cases of either illness in the region this year.
Most infected people will have no symptoms, but others can develop fever, headaches, and body aches, Gordon said. Hospitalization is required in some cases, and in rare cases the diseases can be fatal.
Young children, people over 50 years old and people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of experiencing more severe symptoms of both mosquito-borne illnesses, Gordon said. Anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical help.
“We want to remind everyone that even though there are no reported cases of a person having West Nile in the Coachella Valley so far in 2019, people need to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from getting bitten,” Gordon said. “This means preventing mosquito bites and preventing mosquitoes around your home.”
Due to recent detections of West Nile in Rancho Mirage, vector control officials began spray applications on Tuesday and expected to conclude them by 8 a.m. Thursday, according to Gordon.
The application areas are in communities along Highway 111 between Mirage Cove Drive and Evening Star Drive, Gordon said.
Residents can check application routes and updated application times at www.cvmvcd.org/controlactivities.htm.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: