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First Sample of the Season Tests Positive for Mosquito-Borne Disease in East Valley

Mosquito trapping in Mecca results in positive St. Louis Encephalitis virus.

Posted on: June 7, 2023 - 3:21pm

 Coachella Valley, CA- Mosquitoes from a routine collection site in Mecca tested positive for St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) near Colfax Street and 71st Avenue making it the first sample from the valley to test positive for virus in 2023.

“St. Louis Encephalitis virus is endemic, which means we'll detect it every year in our communities,'' said Laboratory Manager Jennifer Henke. "The weather heats up, more mosquitoes emerge and are ready to bite. Everyone should be inspecting and removing stagnant water around their home every week.''

No human cases of SLEV have been reported by the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District or the state this year. There is no human vaccine for SLEV so residents should be proactive against mosquito bites by wearing insect repellent. 

The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District is increasing mosquito control technicians in these areas and will carry out mosquito control treatments as needed to reduce the number of mosquitoes and interrupt further transmission of the virus.

Prevent mosquito bites: 

·      Stay inside at dawn and dusk when these mosquitoes are most active.

·      Wear insect repellent. EPA registered ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 (as directed on the product label).

·      Cover up. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when mosquitoes are most active.

·      Check window and door screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

Prevent mosquitoes around your home:

·      Check lawn drains for water and debris. Clean drains regularly.

·      Inspect yards for standing water sources. Drain water that collects under potted plants, birdbaths, tires, and any other water holding containers.

·      Clean and scrub pet dishes and water features weekly.

·      Swimming pools, ponds, and fountains require working pumps and regular maintenance.

About St. Louis Encephalitis Virus. SLEV spread when a female mosquito bites an infected bird. The mosquito then can become a carrier and transmit the virus to people. Most infected people will have no symptoms. Others will develop fever, headaches, and body aches; hospitalization is required in some cases, and in rare cases, death occurs. People with symptoms should contact their health care provider.

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