A La Quinta resident has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Riverside County Department of Public Health reported Thursday. The news comes just as local vector control officials reported this year's Coachella Valley mosquito-borne virus activity is the highest on record.
Since 2003, the region has not seen more samples testing positive for West Nile and/or Saint Louis encephalitis virus by this point in the year, according to the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. District officials said 134 positive samples have been collected since Jan. 1, with most of the samples found in Mecca, Thermal and North Shore.
The second-highest year was 2015, when 119 positive samples were collected by this point that year. Though some of the positive samples recorded are due to recent increased trapping conducted by the district, district spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said 2017's numbers still eclipse the past few years' results, when control efforts began taking off.
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The district advised residents to make efforts to dump or drain standing water on their properties, particularly after rainfall visited the desert this past weekend. Common standing water sources include plant saucers, buckets, tires, pet water bowls, recycle bins and trash cans.
"Don't let mosquitoes take over your yard," district General Manger Jeremy Wittie said. "The effort you put in now to get rid of standing water in your yard will protect you and your family's health when outside enjoying our cooler temperatures."
Control efforts are continuing in the eastern Coachella Valley, with news of the La Quinta West Nile case prompting increased surveillance and control activities for the city. Meanwhile, an increased presence of Aedes agypti mosquitoes in Palm Springs will have the district conducting helicopter spraying applications through the end of the month.
Aedes agypti mosquitoes, which are capable of transmitting serious viruses like chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever and Zika, were first detected in the Coachella Valley last May and have been seen in Coachella, Indio, Cathedral City, La Quinta and Palm Springs. Palm Springs' infestation is the largest detected in the Coachella Valley, according to the district.