The number of mosquitos that are testing positive for West Nile virus in the Coachella Valley has reached an all-time high.

West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. It is most commonly spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of West Nile Virus mostly occur during mosquito season, starting in summer and continuing through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medicine to treat West Nile Virus in people. Fortunately, most people who contract West Nile Virus do not feel sick and only about 1 in 5 infected people develop a fever and other symptoms. Additionally, only about 1 out of 150 people infected with the virus develop a serious, and sometimes fatal, illness.

Last week, the Coachella Valley Vector Control District collected 29 samples from mosquitos who tested positive for West Nile Virus. This brings the total number of positive samples collected this year alone to 108, according to district’s Tammy Gordon

At this time last year, no West Nile Virus-positive mosquitos had been detected, according to Gordon.

The most recent samples were collected from communities around the valley, including Indio, Mecca, Thermal, La Quinta, and Coachella.

Gordon reported that the sample collected from La Quinta marked the first time ever that the West Nile Virus was detected in that city this year.

There have been no reports of humans contracting the West Nile Virus in California this year, however, three people in Arizona have tested positive.

The Coachella Valley Vector Control District staff plan to post disease notifications close to the trap locations where West Nile Virus was detected and will increase surveillance and inspections for standing water sources, which mosquitos could lay eggs in, Gordon said.

While people who contract West Nile Virus rarely show symptoms, that doesn’t mean it is safe to assume this virus is harmless. According to the CDC, a few of the serious symptoms one can develop because of West Nile Virus include coma, tremors, convulsions, vision loss, paralysis, high fever, headache, and the like. Additionally, about 1 out of 10 people who develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system because of West Nile Virus die.

For those living in the Coachella Valley, be sure to reduce your risk of contracting West Nile Virus by using insect repellents and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts to prevent mosquito bites.