It is the first time this mosquito season the virus was confirmed in the city, although surrounding municipalities have had multiple positive reports.
“This sentinel (chicken) has been exposed since April 2012. I anticipated it testing positive back in August due to other municipalities having so many multiple positives,” Cajun Mosquito Control owner Jessie Boudreaux said via email this morning.
Spraying was conducted Friday through Sunday in response to the positive test, according to Boudreaux.
Residents are being asked to take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquitoes if at all possible. Also, try to avoid mosquito peak activity times of dusk and dawn, Boudreaux said.
If one must be outside:
—Apply an insect repellent with 20-30 percent Deet to exposed skin surfaces.
—Wear light-colored, long-sleeve shirts as well as pants.
—Avoid wearing perfumes and colognes.
—Make sure that your house has tight fitting windows and doors screens and that all are free from holes.
Residents also are encouraged to remove all standing water in items such as bird baths, plant bowls, empty soda cans, old tires, ice chests, abandoned or unused swimming pools, clogged rain gutters or any other containers that may hold water.
June through October is generally the most active period for West Nile virus activity, Boudreaux noted.
It has been a banner year for West Nile virus in Louisiana although no human cases have been reported in St. Mary Parish.
Louisiana’s health department says 25 new West Nile virus infections were reported in the state via the weekly report released Friday, including seven that caused potentially fatal neuro-invasive disease, the most serious consequence of the mosquito-borne virus.
The seven were reported in Ascension, Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant and Morehouse parishes.
There were 18 cases of the less serious, flu-like, West Nile fever reported in Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Franklin, Jefferson, Livingston, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.
The total number of West Nile cases in Louisiana this year has reached 305, the most since 2002. Eleven deaths have resulted this year, although no new deaths were reported this week.
In 2002, the state reported 328 West Nile cases and 24 deaths.
The health department said that even though fall has arrived, warm weather lingers and that means residents should continue to protect themselves from mosquitoes.
The health department says most West Nile cases don’t cause symptoms and are typically detected through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests. About 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. Only a small number of infected people will show the serious symptoms associated with neuro-invasive maladies such as encephalitis or meningitis.
Residents with questions may call Cajun Mosquito Control at 985-879-3677.