Chickens in Des Allemands, Paradis, St. Rose and Norco have tested positive for the West Nile virus, according to the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.
In response to the positive tests, Mosquito Control personnel have increased spraying in the affected areas.West Nile cases tend to increase in August, but so far this year the country hasn’t experienced a large outbreak. In 2012, around 300 people in Louisiana caught the virus from mosquitoes. This year, the state has only reported one positive human case.
West Nile is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by biting a bird that carries the virus.
About 80 percent of the people who are infected with the West Nile virus never know it because they don’t display any symptoms. Twenty percent to 30 percent of those infected develop West Nile fever with headaches, joint pains, vomiting or diarrhea.
Less than 1 percent of those infected develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease, involving inflammation of the brain, spinal cord or the tissue surrounding the brain, which carries a death rate of about 10 percent.
Residents are asked to help eradicate mosquito breeding sites by dumping out standing water. In order to avoid mosquito bites, residents should stay inside at dawn and dusk, wear pants and long sleeves, and use insect repellent containing DEET.