West Nile spraying increased in wake of positive West Nile testing

With the West Nile Virus alert expanded to include Mimosa in Luling, mosquito spraying has been increased and the state Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) recommending precautions.

The Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed sentinel chicken flock blood samples collected on Sept. 10 in Mimosa (Luling), Aug. 26 in Ama and July 29 in Taft as positive for West Nile Virus. The laboratory also confirmed last week that positive samples were collected in Paradis, Bayou Gauche, Fairfield (St. Rose) and Montz.

Mosquito Control Services LLC personnel have increased spraying and other abatement measures in the area.

“Mosquitoes are out and biting and spreading West Nile virus,” said DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard. “Protecting yourself is very simple and it could spare you from getting this disease.”

Mosquitoes spread the disease by biting humans.

According to the DHH, infected people are affected in one of three ways: West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. This form of the disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.

The milder infection is West Nile fever with flu-like symptoms. Most people who contract West Nile will show no symptoms, and about 90 percent of all cases show no symptoms. Few infected individuals show serious symptoms. Residents 65 years old and older are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection.

Last week, a Slidell man reportedly died of West Nile, the third known fatality stemming from the disease in Louisiana this year.

One state over, seven new cases of West Nile have been confirmed in Mississippi recently, bringing that state’s total to 35.

DHH advises the following:

– Wear protective clothing outdoors for extended periods of time.

– Use a repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing, not under clothes or on broken skin.

– For children, there should be no more than 30 percent DEET and use no repellent on children younger than two months old. Adults should apply repellent on children.

– Apply repellent to the face by spraying it on the hands and then rubbing it on the face.

– Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors.

– Ensure the house has tight-fitting windows and doors, as well as screens are free of holes.

– Remove all standing water near the residence.

– Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers. 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.

– Check and clean roof gutters routinely.

– Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.

– Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used.

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