The parish wide West Nile Virus infection rate among Southern House Mosquitoes last week in EBR Parish was 6.42 infected mosquitoes per 1000 mosquitoes tested. Mosquito infection rates of five or more during July and August have historically been a predictor of human cases of West Nile Virus. Fifteen mosquito samples collected from eight locations around the parish tested positive for West Nile Virus last week, indicating that the virus is widespread in the parish.
Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile Virus when they bite wild birds, such as Cardinals and House Sparrows, infected with the disease. Infected mosquitoes can then transmit WNV to people when they bite. Wild birds frequently visit bird feeders and often seek water in bird baths around homes. Southern House mosquitoes and Asian Tiger mosquitoes breed in water filled containers around homes and can pick up WNV when they bite wild birds frequenting the premise. These mosquitoes can then transmit the disease to people when they bite.
Citizens should locate and empty water filled containers every week when they take the trash to the curb for garbage pickup. Other precautions include:
· Avoiding activity around dusk and dawn whenever possible, this is when many mosquito species are most active
·Wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors during peak mosquito activity periods when possible
· Wearing repellents with DEET or other approved ingredients when outdoors during times when mosquitoes are active (see the CDC Web Site for More Information
·Keeping mosquitoes out of the home by repairing torn window screens and eliminating cracks around doors and windows.
Citizens may call EBRMARC at 356-3297 for assistance between 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The service is free.