New samples test positive for infection with the West Nile Virus in California. The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District collected the mosquito samples from a trap outside Desert Hot Springs and another one in the Palm Desert area.
This raises concern over the possibility of an outbreak, considering that two residents of western Riverside Country have already died from complications related to the West Nile virus. The Mosquito and Vector Control District reports that 23 people have been infected in the whole country, a considerable increase from the 14 human cases reported last year.
The number of samples infected with WNV has reached 96 for the Coachella Valley this year, making it the second highest, after 2012, when 110 positive-testing samples were collected. However, researchers said that for the Coachella Valley, 2015 has been the highest year in virus activity in a decade.
In an attempt to prevent widespread infection, authorities have conducted “ultra-low volume” spraying of several dozen streets in Corona. However, the Mosquito and Vector Control District says that further steps need to be taken in order to eradicate mosquito infestations in the area and that action also needs to be taken in order to raise public awareness on potential hazards.
The District has released guidelines on how to individually protect against mosquito bites in the region and thus prevent infection with the West Nile virus. Researchers have advised in favor of wearing long-sleeves and full clothing while outdoors and to install tightly fitting screens on all windows and doors in the house to prevent mosquitos from swarming in. The District also advises residents to check rain gutters, as well as to drain standing water to prevent mosquitos from laying eggs.
The Health Department has also warned residents in the area to take all necessary precautions in order to avoid mosquito bites and, consequently, possible infection with WNV. Executive Director John Cicero confirmed that “there are still a few risks of WNV transmission to humans.” He further advised that until winter arrives, “people should continue to take precautions when spending time outdoors.”
As the warm weather continues, mosquito swarms continue to thrive. Authorities are doing their part in warning the public and taking necessary steps in preventing an outbreak. Researchers have expressed worry about the increased numbers of positive-testing samples, but reassure residents that infection can be prevented individually if all precautions are taken.
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