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Helicopter mosquito spraying planned amid historic mosquito infection season

COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif.- - Mosquito pesticide treatments via helicopter were scheduled to get underway today in Palm Springs as mosquito-borne viruses continue to be detected in high numbers in the Coachella Valley, officials said.
   
The treatments come after the news last week that 74-year-old Robert Mears of Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea shoreline died of West Nile virus at a San Diego hospital. He's the first known person to die of West Nile virus in California this year.
   
The total number of positive samples of West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley so far this higher than the last four years combined, Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District spokeswoman Tammy Gordon said last week. Mosquitoes carrying St. Louis encephalitis virus have also been detected. Both illnesses are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
   
The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District is planning aerial larval applications that will take place every Tuesday and Wednesday for four weeks, beginning this morning. Applications are planned between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., though they could take place anytime between 8 p.m. the night before and 8 a.m.


   
The application area is within the boundaries of Ramon Road, Gene Autry Trail, Sierra Way and the mountains.
   
The district already conducted helicopter treatments last week in the eastern Coachella Valley near the northern shoreline of the Salton Sea and plans to continue them for two more weeks.
   
The applications are scheduled to take place between Avenue 71, Garfield Street, Avenue 74 and Johnson Street every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, between 8 p.m. and midnight, though they could continue until 8 a.m.
   
``The District's primary goal is protecting the community from mosquito-borne diseases,'' said Jeremy Wittie, the district's general manager. ``With the first human death reported in our neighboring county, the District will continue to stay vigilant as this unprecedented year continues.''
 


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