Louisiana residents joke about the prevalence of mosquitoes in the area by saying that the state bird IS the mosquito. This year has been especially challenging with the increase in mosquitoes and the virus they carry – West Nile.
2012 Stats for West Nile
Just this week, officials in the Baton Rouge area alerted neighborhoods to take extra precautions from being bit by mosquitoes because of the prevalence of West Nile. Research has indicated that the infection rate for mosquitoes is 11.1 percent for every 1,000 mosquitoes tested. That is almost twice the number that has been found in the past, and even those numbers resulted in human cases of the West Nile virus.
So far, there have been 53 cases of West Nile in the state of Louisiana, and positive samples of the virus have been found throughout the parishes. Officials have been placing mosquito traps in the Baton Rouge area to trap mosquitoes and test them for the virus. There is growing concern over encephalitis – swelling of the brain – which has been found to be part of the virus in some of the mosquitoes tested.
Concerns for Hunting Season
As always, health officials are most concerned about the very old and the very young, but the entire population is of concern at the immediate time. Not only has there been more West Nile activity this year compared to the last three to five years, but also the next three months are the peak of the season. With hunting season around the corner, this is also a concern over West Nile cases that will occur during the fall. With hunters spending long days outdoors and around trees and animals, the number of West Nile cases could spike.
Local Efforts to Prevent West Nile
Thankfully, 90 percent of West Nile cases are asymptomatic, which means you carry the virus but have no symptoms. In about 10 percent of cases, the person will develop a fever; those who are over 65 years of age are of greatest concern because they are at a higher risk for complications.
To protect yourself against the virus, Louisiana officials urge all residents to look for standing water around their home and eliminate it – regularly. That means dumping out water that sits in flower pots, buckets, swimming pools and bird baths.
Working with a pest control company like Dugas Pest Control can get your home safe from these pesky insects so you don’t have to worry. It’s important to choose a local company that understands the unique environment of the south and how these damp and wet conditions can provide mosquitoes with the perfect grounds for breeding. You can also expect to see the Baton Rouge area stepping up in its own precautionary efforts, spraying each day to control these pesky pests.