Mosquito samples in Coachella and North Shore tested positive for sickness-inducing Saint Louis Encephalitis virus for the first time this year, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District reported today.
The test, conducted on Wednesday, showed that mosquito season may last longer this year than usual, said Tammy Gordon, public information officer for the district.
Most people infected with Saint Louis Encephalitis virus (SLEV) show no signs of apparent illness, but symptoms for those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
No human cases of SLEV have been reported in the county in 2019.
In the past two weeks, West Nile virus has also been detected in mosquito samples from La Quinta, Mecca and Oasis, Gordon said. There have been 10 human cases of West Nile virus in Riverside County in 2019. Similar to SLEV, most people infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick, though some may develop a fever or other symptoms, according to the CDC.
District officials will increase mosquito surveillance in these areas and search for standing bodies of water.
“Any standing water source left on your property can be enough for mosquitoes to lay eggs,” Gordon said. “We can’t do it alone, we need everyone to go outside and eliminate any standing water they find on their property. The cooling temperatures can still be an active time for mosquitoes.”
Earlier this summer, the district also detected an invasive mosquito species called Aedes aegypti in Desert Hot Springs. This mosquito is capable of transmitting harmful viruses such as chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever and Zika.
Residents can reduce mosquitoes near their homes by inspecting their yards for standing water, clearing rain gutters, cleaning bird baths and pet water bowls weekly and cleaning new potted plant containers, where mosquitoes may lay their eggs.
Residents should avoid going outside in the hours around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Gordon also encourages people to wear long-sleeve shirts and ensure that windows and doors are in good repair to preventmosquitoes from entering the home.