In this Desert Sun file photo, mosquitoes caught in a Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District trap are tested for West Nile virus. Two positive samples were collected in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Desert this week.(Photo: Lauren Reyes/The Desert Sun)Buy Photo
Although experts say the infection rate is slowing, two samples of mosquitoes collected in the Coachella Valley this week tested positive for West Nile virus, bringing this year’s total to 96.
One sample collected near the corner of Bubbling Wells Road and 18th Avenue in Desert Hot Springs and one collected near Cook Street and Merle Drive in Palm Desert tested positive earlier this week, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
Other positive samples have been detected in Bermuda Dunes, near the corner of Lima Hall Road and Starlight Lane as well as near Highway 111 and Eldorado Drive in Indian Wells and the west shore of the Salton Sea, off of Buchanan Street.
The first human case of West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley during 2015 occurred when a Thermal man tested positive for the disease in early August. It was one of 23 human cases in the county this year, the Riverside County Department of Public Health reported.
These most recent tests bring the total number of positive tests in the Coachella Valley to 96, the most detected in the valley since 2012, when 110 samples had the virus present, according to CVMVCD spokeswoman Jill Oviatt.
West Nile virus is a common cause of encephalitis that is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Common signs of the disease include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches.
As cooler weather approaches, Oviatt expects the virus to slow down, but warns locals to continue monitoring sources of standing water and keep screens and windows intact.
“We are definitely seeing a drop in virus activity as we enter the fall season, but infected mosquitoes are still out there, ” Oviatt said in a news release. “As temperatures cool, people will spend more time outdoors and potentially be exposed to infected mosquitoes. We urge people to stay vigilant. Wear insect repellent, cover up, and avoid getting bit.”
The CVMVCD urges people to report mosquito problems and standing water sites by calling (760) 342-8287 or (888) 343-9399.
Anna Rumer is a public safety reporter for The Desert Sun. She can be reached at (760) 285-5490, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AnnaRumer.