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School custodians receive training to stop mosquito breeding

Palm Springs Unified School District custodians received special training by the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District to help them spot and identify dangerous mosquitoes and the areas where they might breed.

“A lot of the mosquito control can be done by people themselves whether it’s maintenance or custodial workers or just people in their own backyard,” said Jill Oviatt, public information officer for the CVMVCD.

Experts say the main thing to look for in stopping the spread of mosquitoes is stagnant water.

“This is where mosquitoes lay their eggs, breed into adult mosquitoes who can then bite you and potentially give you a deadly virus,” Oviatt said.

The custodians spent the day learning to identify and report these mosquito hot spots.

“If there’s standing water this training will help our guys to identify potential areas that these can break out in,” David Farey, a grounds manager.

The training will hopefully prove invaluable in protecting students from mosquito-borne diseases in the 500 miles PSUSD covers in the Coachella Valley.

Experts said any pool of water standing still for over 96 hours is at risk and this summer, there are breeds of mosquitoes that can carry diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, zika, and West Nile Virus.

As of Thursday, there have been five samples that have tested positive for WNV in the Coachella Valley. According to the Center for Disease Control, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatments for WNV. If you feel yourself having flu-like symptoms just a few days after getting a mosquito bite, experts say you should head to your doctor.

Although vector control officials regularly search for active breeding sites, they also advise using repellant and taking extra precaution throughout these warmer months.

“We usually see it from April until all the way through November and so those are those key months that we want people out there making sure that they don’t have any standing water around and if there are mosquitoes, that they’re covering themselves up with repellant long sleeves and long shirts to make sure that they don’t get bitten,” Oviatt said.

If you see a site around the valley that has stagnant water and you think it might be at risk for breeding mosquitoes, you can call vector control at (760) 342-828 or click here.

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