West Nile Virus Moves Into the Heart of Mecca
Thursday 25 September 2014 01:52:00 PM
CONTACT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jill Oviatt September 25, 2014
Public Information Manager
(760) 342-8287 or (760) 289-9298
WEST NILE VIRUS MOVES INTO THE HEART OF MECCA
The virus is detected in six sentinel chickens from a flock near Lincoln St. and 65th Ave.
INDIO, CA, SEPTEMBER 25, 2014: West Nile virus (WNV) continues to spread in
the Coachella Valley, moving closer to residential areas. Sentinel chickens from 10
coops across the Valley were sampled September 15. A California Department of Public
Health lab confirmed September 24 that West Nile virus was detected in six sentinel
chickens from a coop located in a densely populated portion of Mecca. West Nile virus
was also detected in seven additional samples from sentinel chickens in coops located in
another part of Mecca and the North Shore area.
This brings the total number of West Nile-virus positive sentinel chickens to 23 for
2014. During the same period, 51 samples of mosquitoes tested positive for the virus.
Each mosquito sample contains 50 to 100 mosquitoes. Virus detection has been confined
to the east Valley except for one positive mosquito sample from a trap near Desert Hot
Springs. No human cases have been reported in the Coachella Valley this year.
“California is seeing the proportion of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus at its
highest level ever,” says Gregory S. White, PhD, Vector Ecologist at the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (CVMVCD). “We are faring a bit better in the Coachella Valley with an average year for virus detection so far. But all that could change quickly, so people need to remain vigilant, as these recent results demonstrate that the virus continues to spread.”
WNV is transmitted to humans and animals, including sentinel chickens, through the
bite of an infected mosquito. CVMVCD keeps sentinel chicken coops across the Valley
to help detect the presence, intensity, and duration of transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in the area. Sentinel chickens do not get sick and are not capable of transmitting the virus to other mosquitoes. Mosquitoes acquire WNV by feeding on infected birds.
Most individuals infected with WNV will not experience any illness. Others will have mild
symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, young children, the elderly, or
individuals with lowered immune systems are at greater risk of experiencing more severe symptoms
when infected. Anyone with symptoms should contact their health care provider.
CVMVCD staff will carry out ultra-low volume (ULV) ground applications, using truck mounted
sprayers to reduce the risk of disease transmission to humans by adult mosquitoes. Ground ULV will begin Friday, September 26 and continue through Tuesday, September 29, 3:30-5:30 a.m., in downtown Mecca and several surrounding streets, weather permitting. Application routes will be posted at ttp://www.cvmvcd.org/adulticiding.htm.
All products used are registered by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the purpose of controlling mosquitoes and protecting
We will also intensify mosquito surveillance and larval control in the areas near the coop where the chickens tested positive and alert the community to the virus transmission in the area. CVMVCD has alerted schools in the area, which have agreed to send home a “Disease Warning” flyer to all students, totaling more than 4,000. Valley residents are encouraged to protect themselves from WNV and prevent mosquito breeding by taking the following actions:
Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
Apply Insect Repellent. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin (KBR
3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the
instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months
of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Lemon eucalyptus
oil should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours. Dawn and dusk are peak biting times for many mosquitoes.
Consider rescheduling outdoor activities during that time.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites. Wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when
outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from skin. Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places for
mosquitoes to breed by draining/discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains.
Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools. Change water in birdbaths and pet bowls at least
Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
So far this year, 375 WNV human cases were reported in California resulting in 15 deaths. Riverside County reported five human cases of the virus. Please contact the District at (760) 342-8287 or (888) 343-9399 to report mosquito problems, request mosquitofish, report neglected pools or standing water where mosquitoes breed, and report dead birds. Visit us online at www.cvmvcd.org to obtain more information and submit service requests. For the latest statewide statistics for WNV activity,
please visit http://westnile.ca.gov.