A record number of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have been detected in the Coachella Valley, officials from the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District said Friday.
To date, 104 positive mosquito samples have been recorded. That is the highest number since 2003, when the West Nile virus first came to the Coachella Valley.
No human cases have been recorded locally, although a 52-yea- old man in western Riverside county was diagnosed with the virus. A 24-year-old Fontana woman was also hospitalized with West Nile virus.
Across the country, West Nile virus activity has reached record levels. A total of 1,590 cases have been confirmed, along with 65 total deaths. Fifty-six people in California have been diagnosed with the virus.
Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control (CVMVCD) reports a continued "aggressive surveillance and larval and adult mosquito control campaign across the entire valley." In response to this year's record West Nile virus activity, CVMVCD says it has "temporarily suspended some portions of its [red imported fire ants] and eye gnat program to devote more staff and time to the control of mosquitoes in areas that currently have West Nile virus activity."
Most positive mosquito samples have been discovered in the North Shore and Mecca areas, although positive mosquito samples have also been located in Indio, La Quinta and Rancho Mirage.
At least one dozen sentinel chickens have also tested positive for West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley.
For questions about chemical spraying for mosquitoes, contact CVMVCD at (760) 342-8287 or (888) 343-9399.
To view a map of current positive West Nile virus locations in the Coachella Valley, visit http://cvmvcd.org/wnvmap.htm