Public Urged to Take Protective Measures After Mosquito Surveillance by Louisiana Department of Health Finds High Numbers of West Nile Infections

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Published June 30, 2022

Public Urged to Take Protective Measures After Mosquito Surveillance by Louisiana Department of Health Finds High Numbers of West Nile Infections

Louisiana – The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported on June 30, 2022, that they had received reports of West Nile virus present in more than 175 mosquito pools this year, a figure they said was significantly higher than last year at this time, when 13 pools tested positive.

The high number of positive cases in the pool samples indicates that the West Nile virus is more likely to spread to humans. The Office of Public Health is urging people to take precautions against mosquito bites. West Nile virus is spread by mosquitos and can infect humans and animals. While 80 percent of human cases are asymptomatic, West Nile Fever can affect a large number of people. West Nile Fever, a flu-like illness, can cause fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rashes.

A small percentage of people infected with West Nile Virus will develop West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease or West Nile Encephalitis, which can lead to hospitalization and death. High fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, numbness, coma, and paralysis are all possible symptoms. These symptoms can last for several weeks and are associated with the risk of death or permanent brain damage. While anyone is at risk of developing severe disease, those with pre-existing medical conditions and those over the age of 60 are at a higher risk. The number of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease cases varies year to year due to a variety of environmental and weather factors, with previous case counts in Louisiana ranging from 4 to 204 cases per year.

“Now is the time to start protecting yourself from mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites around your home,” said Louisiana Department of Health State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “We’re getting early warning signs from our Mosquito Abatement District samples across the state that West Nile Virus could result in higher case counts among humans this summer.”

According to LDH, there are numerous ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • If you will be outside, you should wear EPA-registered approved mosquito repellent and always follow product label instructions.
  • Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing, but do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
  • To protect yourself from being exposed to mosquitos while indoors, make sure that windows and doors are tight-fitting, and that all screens are free of holes.

LDH also indicated that residents should also take the following precautions to protect your home from mosquitoes:

  • Reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around your home, which is where mosquitoes breed.
  • Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property that may collect water. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children’s toys or anything that could collect water.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. If a recycling container has holes on the sides, there is still room for the container to collect water for mosquitoes to breed, so holes should be added on the bottom if not already present.
  • Check and clean roof gutters routinely. Clogged gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
  • Water gardens and ornamental pools can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Take steps to prevent stagnation, such as adding fish or aeration.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family for a little as a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
  • Contact local mosquito abatement districts to report problem mosquito areas.


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