BY MAYA CASAS
Aedes aegypti mosquitos
Invasive mosquitos capable of transmitting diseases have been detected in multiple cities around the Coachella Valley according to The Coachella Mosquito and Vector District. The rise in mosquitos in the Coachella Valley has also led to its first West Nile Virus (WNV) case this year.
There is now evidence of the Aedes aegypti invasive mosquito in La Quinta and Palm Desert. Originally they were detected in Coachella in May of 2016 and have since spread to Indio, Cathedral City and Palm Springs. The Aedes mosquitos are capable of transmitting WNV, but local mosquitos who are more likely to, have not failed to infect a La Quinta resident. Desert Hot Springs also has a resident infected as well according to Jill Oviatt, Public Information Manager at Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. “Since May 2017, we have seen the detection zone [in Palm Springs] of the invasive species expand from about 100 properties to about 2,000 properties.” she stated.
Mosquito borne virus activity is the highest on record this year according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. The Aedes mosquitos are capable of transmitting chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika. Oviatt clarified that, “The primary threat is from two native mosquitos species, the Culex quinquefasciatus and the Culex tarsalis. These are the local mosquitos that are actively transmitting West Nile and Saint Louis encephalitis viruses in the Coachella Valley.” According to the Riverside University Health System, Riverside County had 138 reported cases of WNV and 6 fatal cases in 2015 compared to 12 and 1 in 2016. There has been 16 reported Zika viruses as well. The California West Nile Virus Website recorded 34 WNV reports in Riverside as of Oct. 4, 2017.
The District has also been setting more traps in La Quinta and trying their best to control the expansion of mosquitos all over the valley. The best way to do your part in preventing the growth in mosquitos and the spread of diseases in the Coachella Valley, as stated by the District, would be to drain all standing water around your home as often as possible, keep screens on your windows, use insect repellent, and wear clothing that covers the most amount of skin.