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West Nile Virus Detected in Mosquitoes in Beaumont

County vector control officials say they're planning to conduct anti- insect spraying in several pockets of Beaumont, including a lightly populated area around Minnesota Avenue and First Street, and a residential area along Palmer Avenue and Morris Street

Mosquito spraying is planned tomorrow in parts of Beaumont as a precautionary measure following the discovery of a number of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes in the city, where no human infections have been reported, Riverside County health officials said.

Spraying occurred Friday in Blythe after WNV-infected mosquitoes were netted near Mayflower Park. However, no human cases have been reported in that desert community.

Now county vector control officials say they're planning to conduct anti- insect spraying in several pockets of Beaumont, including a lightly populated area around Minnesota Avenue and First Street, and a residential area along Palmer Avenue and Morris Street, which borders Calimesa.

According to the county Department of Public Health, part of a sample of 50 mosquitoes netted in the vicinity of Morris and Palmer tested positive for WNV last week.

Doug Osborn, supervising environmental health specialist for the county’s vector control program, told The Press-Enterprise that a fogger, which emits pesticide, will be mounted to the bed of a truck that will be driven through those areas.

Officials said spraying will occur between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The Press-Enterprise also reported that Osborn said the substance’s health risks to humans are minimal, but as a precaution people might want to stay indoors and close their homes’ windows and doors Wednesday evening.

There have been two confirmed human WNV infections in Riverside County so far this year -- both in the Riverside area, health department spokesman Jose Arballo told City News Service.

The most recent case, involving a 22-year-old man, cropped up in the last few days. He is recovering at home, Arballo said. The first case was announced on Aug. 22, when a 52-year-old man was reported to be recovering from a WNV infection.

Sixty-nine cases of human infection have been reported statewide in the last few months, according to the California Department of Public Health. The largest number of cases have been concentrated in Northern California.

There have been five WNV-related fatalities this year, state health officials said.

In Riverside County, 11 people were infected last year. None of them died. The last known West Nile-related fatality in the county occurred in 2008, according to health officials.

Mosquitoes typically become carriers of the virus after feeding on an infected bird and can then spread the potentially lethal strain to animals and humans.

Symptoms may never materialize, but can include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes. Fatal cases are rare.

Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans the months of May through October. To reduce exposure to West Nile virus during this period, residents ae urged to take the following steps:

-- spend as little time as possible outdoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active;

-- wear pants and long-sleeved shirts during outdoor activity;

-- use insect repellent;

-- ensure door and window screens are fitted properly to keep bugs out; and

-- get rid of standing water, aside from pools properly treated with chemicals.

The California Department of Public Health asks anyone who finds a dead crow, raven, magpie or jaybird to call the West Nile hotline at (877) 968-2473.

Mariana Zuelsdorf September 05, 2012 at 12:06 AM
People often forget that birdbaths can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I bought a battery operated Water Wiggler Water Agitator that sits in the birdbath to keep the water moving and it's very effective. Mosquitoes do not breed in moving water.

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