Fight the bite
According to Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Louisiana is experiencing its worst West Nile outbreak in a decade this year, and nationwide, West Nile cases are the highest they have been since 2003.
Louisiana is among the 13 states with the highest case counts, with state health officials reporting 11 new cases and one new death last week.
Although there has only been one case of the virus so far this year reported in Jeff Davis Parish, this week one case of neuroinvasive disease was reported in Calcasieu Parish and one case of West Nile Fever was reported in Cameron Parish. Both are neighboring parishes to Jeff Davis.
Despite cooler temperatures, it is still important to remember to fight the bite.
Local mosquito control partners and abatement districts remain vigilant in keeping the population of infected mosquitos under control, but everyone has a personal responsibility to avoid mosquito bites.
Health officials recommend:
• If outside, wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30 percent DEET when used on children.
• Be especially vigilant if outside at dawn and dusk. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile are most active at that time.
• Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing.
• To apply repellent to face, spray on hands and then rub on face.
• Adults should always apply repellent to children.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time.
• Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors for extended periods of time.
• Make sure the house has tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes.
Another effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to drain stagnant water from around homes and property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming by:
• Disposing of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on the property. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools or buckets that could collect water.
• Drilling holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed.
• Cleaning clogged roof gutters yearly. They are often overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
• Aerating ornamental pools or stocking them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
• Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools that are not being used. An unattended swimming pool can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Also, be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
For more information on West Nile activity in Louisiana and prevention tips, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/FighttheBite.
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