A fourth case of West Nile virus was detected in Palm Springs. It's the fourth in the city, since July 25, and the 32nd in the whole valley this year. Its significant because there were zero cases in Palm Springs this time last year. Most positive cases come from the Salton Sea and the east valley. "It's not a real predictable virus, the way it distributes and so on," said Rod Chamberlain, a project manager from the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
Vector control staff was out in force to spray affected areas in Palm Springs. District staff will perform barrier treatments in areas identified as mosquito habitats around residential housing, hotels and resorts, and in the neighborhoods where positive samples were detected. A light mist approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), target-specific, and used frequently by public health agencies will be applied directly on vegetation where mosquitoes are hiding and resting around buildings and front and back yards. These treatments will be carried out over the next few days, weather permitting, to reduce adult mosquito populations in the area bounded by Vista Chino, North Via Miraleste, East Tamarisk Road, and North Rose Avenue.
While it's not clear why the disease seems more prevalent in Palm Springs this year, the aftermath of our recent heavy storms are a factor. The humidity and standing water create breeding grounds for the bugs. "The humidity, any rain that we have does hang around a lot longer," said Chamberlain. "You know, we have a lot more potential breeding sites, the longer the water sits. We have a lot of dry pools in the area."
While the numbers are up in Palm Springs, they're actually way down across the valley, 32 now, compared t0 107 this time last year.
Vector control also plans to send out flyers to certain neighborhoods in the Palm Springs area, warning people about the West Nile activity and offer tips like:
-Drain standing water in your yard
-Repair broken fountain or pool pumps
-Apply insect repellent
-Avoid being outside during peak mosquito hours (dawn and dusk)