The state has confirmed that mosquitoes collected from several locations in the Murrieta/Temecula area, and one location in the Hemet area, tested positive for West Nile virus.
The Riverside County Department of Environmental Health received confirmation from the Vector-borne Disease Section at UC Davis that tests on mosquitoes collected in Murrieta, Temecula and Hemet were positive. The samples were collected Aug. 11 and 12 from locations at Monroe Basin, the northwest corner of Temecula and western Hemet.
It is not unusual for mosquitoes in parts of Riverside County to test positive for the virus, especially during the summer. In 2013, 81 mosquito samples tested positive for the virus.
The virus can be transmitted to humans and some animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most individuals who are infected will not experience any illness. Others will have only 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 more severe symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should contact their health care provider.
The department’s vector-control staff has intensified mosquito surveillance as well as efforts to control adult and larval mosquitoes in these areas to reduce the mosquito populations and interrupt the disease transmission cycle. Residents are encouraged to take an active role to reduce the threat of West Nile virus in their neighborhoods.
• Protect yourself against mosquito bites by using 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 percent 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 planned for those hours.
• 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 where mosquitos lay their eggs. Limit the number of places for mosquitoes to breed by draining/discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains and empty unused flowerpots and wading pools. Change water in birdbaths and pet bowls at least weekly.
• Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly fitting screens on all windows and doors.
Contact the Riverside County Vector Control program at (951) 766-9454 or your local vector-control district to report mosquito problems, request mosquito fish and report neglected pools or standing water as potential mosquito sources. Visit the department online at www.rivcoeh.org/Programs/vector to obtain more information.