Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Indio, Coachella, Thermal

First instance of WNV in the valley this year

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile V

INDIO, Calif.- - Mosquitoes in three desert cities have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD). 

This is the first instance of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus this year. 

Four samples which were gathered from traps that had been set up in Indio, Coachella, and Thermal tested positive.

The traps were set up in the following locations:

  • Avenue 53 and Shady Lane in Coachella
  • Avenue 43 and Golf Center Parkway in Indio
  • Avenue 60 and Tyler Street in Thermal

Testing was conducted in the CVMVCD lab.

“The wet winter and warm temperatures produced more mosquitoes than we usually have at this time of year, so it is not surprising to see virus activity,” said Jeremy Wittie, General Manager of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. “We urge residents across the valley to be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites given we have detected the virus in three different locations spanning a wide area.” 

WNV has been detected in two California counties this year as of May 3. 

"It only takes one mosquito that's infected with West Nile to make you sick," Wittie said.

People can contract the virus by being bitten by an infected mosquito. WNV symptoms are often flu-like; fever, headache, and body aches, but some people may not experience any symptoms at all. Children and the elderly are more likely to experience extreme symptoms. 

Residents in Indio who live near the site a mosquito sample tested positive said they are concerned. 

"We don't want anybody dying," said Nancy Mickelsen. "We've got a lot more elderly people in this area to that are more susceptible to getting ill."

To prevent mosquitoes from making your home their home, CVMVCD recommends the following:

  • Inspect yards for standing water sources and drain water that may have collected under potted plants, in bird baths, discarded tires, and any other items that could collect water. 
  • Check your rain gutters and lawn drains to make sure they aren’t holding water and debris.
  • Clean and scrub birdbaths and pet watering dishes weekly.
  • Check and clean any new potted plant containers that you bring home because they may have Aedes aegypti eggs. The eggs can remain viable in dry areas for months.

Wittie urged residents to be vigilant about eliminating breeding grounds for mosquitos.

"People are really going to have to get used to routinely searching their properties and eliminating those standing water sources and help us reducing the risk in their neighborhoods," he said.

"I'll definitely be using mosquito protectant and keeping my door is shut," Mickelsen said. "I'm making sure I don't have any standing water in my yard."

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