West Nile Virus Infected Mosquitoes Trapped In Mecca And Thermal


MECCA (CNS) - Mecca and Thermal were added to a growing list of Coachella Valley cities that netted mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus, vector-control officials announced today.

Neighborhoods in Indio, Coachella and Palm Springs all reported the infected bugs within the last month, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. Now, the list of cities and unincorporated areas grows to five with Mecca and Thermal trapping the virus-ridden insects this week.

``District staff posted disease notification signs in communities where virus activity was detected and have intensified mosquito surveillance and control measures in the surrounding area,'' CVMVCD officials said. ``This is part of a continued effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further virus activity in the Coachella Valley.''

The mosquitoes were netter near the corner of 73rd Avenue and Lincoln Street in Mecca, while the thermal bugs were found near the corner of 62nd Avenue and Orchid Street, officials said.

Earlier this week, officials announced that ``ultra- low'' volumes would be sprayed in Palm Springs, Coachella and Indio to prevent the spread of mosquitoes infected with WNV found in those cities. The prevention measures are currently ongoing in all three cities and are expected to continue through Saturday.

``What makes this year unlike others is the swiftness in which West Nile virus was detected in so many different areas of the Coachella Valley,'' CVMVCD General Manager Jeremy Wittie said. ``With the upcoming holiday weekend, people will want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.''

The insecticide is not toxic to humans, and will be sprayed in a mist in such amounts that it will not present harm to any animals larger than an insect, CVMVCD spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said.

In addition to Palm Springs, Indio and Coachella will be misted again to prevent further transmission of the virus.

The sprays will be coordinated in 12-hour shifts starting at 8 each night in order to avoid killing off any bees, officials said.

In Palm Springs, the spraying will occur within Sunny Dunes and Vella roads, just south of Mesquite Avenue and El Placer Road. Coachella will be re- misted in the areas of Avenue 52, Tyler Street, Avenue 54 and Calle Empalme, while Indio spraying will be done on Terra Lago Parkway, Harrison Street, Avenue 44, Aztec Street and Vista del Oro.

Agricultural areas and bodies of water will be excluded from the insecticide application.

``Although mosquito control pesticides and the techniques used pose low risks, the district recommends that people who want to avoid exposure as a best practice stay inside or away from the application area during and for 30 minutes following the application,'' according to a CVMVCD statement. ``Signs will be posted along the route informing residents of the control efforts.''

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, more than 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 they 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.

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