Mosquito Spraying in Mecca Today Due to "Persistent Virus Activity''

MECCA (CNS) - “Persistent virus activity” in Mecca stemming from disease-carrying mosquitoes has led local vector control officials to call for increased efforts to control the Eastern Coachella Valley mosquito population and reduce transmission of West Nile and St. Louis Encephalitis in the region, beginning with a round of helicopter and truck-mounted spraying in the city starting today.

Mosquitoes from Mecca have tested positive for St. Louis Encephalitis, while West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes found in Thermal, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The detections prompted the district to call for a round of truck- mounted spraying during the early mornings and helicopter aerial applications in the evenings between Thursday and Saturday.

Truck-mounted spraying will be conducted between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. in the area bordered by Johnson Street, Avenue 66, Lincoln Street and Avenue 62, excluding all organic farms. Helicopter spraying will occur between 9 p.m. and midnight in the area bordered by Hayes Street, Buchanan Street, Avenue 69 and the Salton Sea, excluding organic properties and fish farms.

Additional dates may be added, if necessary.

The latest numbers released by the district indicate around a dozen positive samples each of West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis have been found in the Coachella Valley this year, including detections of West Nile virus in Palm Desert and Indian Wells.

District officials warned residents to watch out during the early morning and evening hours, when mosquitoes are most active.

“With the oppressive temperatures we are experiencing, it is likely that people will be outdoors in the early morning or evening, enjoying a little respite from the heat,” CVMVCD spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said. “This is exactly when virus-carrying mosquitoes are looking to bite a warm-blooded animal, like us. We ask everyone to take proper precautions and cover up or wear repellent to reduce the risk of getting bitten by an infected mosquito and developing a potentially serious disease.”

Along with the latest round of spraying, district officials say that education materials and disease notification flyers have been distributed to the following Mecca locations:

-- Leon's Meat Market

-- Toro Loco

-- Boys & Girls Club

-- Mecca Family & Farmworker's Service Center

-- Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo

-- Mecca Community Pharmacy

-- Supermax Mexicana

-- La Chicanita Market

Mosquito Prevention Best Practices Training will also be held Aug. 9 with around 75-100 maintenance employees and custodians with the Coachella Valley Unified School District.

While most experience no illness if bitten, some people will have flu- like symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches. Rare cases can result in hospitalization and/or death. Young children, the elderly and those with lowered immune systems are at greater risk of severe symptoms.

Any local mosquito problems should be reported to CVMVCD at (760) 342-8287.

Photo: Getty Images

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