Time to dump out the kiddie pool. New Orleans' Mosquito and Termite Control Board has discovered West Nile virus in mosquitoes in the parish for the first time in 2017, according to an announcement from City Hall. There have not been any reported human cases of the virus or the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus, however.
West Nile also was discovered in 14 samples in St. Tammany Parish. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one in five people infected with the virus develop fever and other symptoms, and less than 1 percent develop a serious illness.
The board and the New Orleans Health Department will be "aggressively applying insecticides by airplane and truck" to target the virus-carrying southern house mosquito, as well as "applying larvicide to storm drains and standing water, reducing breeding sources, and educating residents through community outreach efforts."
[jump] [content-1] In 2016, Mayor Mitch Landrieu added $500,000 to the city's Zika defense, in a year when Louisiana officials counted more than 38 reported Zika cases in humans in the state. There also were 40 reported cases of West Nile in humans in Louisiana in 2016, according to the CDC, including one in Orleans Parish. Most reports of West Nile popped up between July and September.
The city reminds residents to dump standing water in yards and areas that collect water after rains, remove trash and old tires that can hold water, and turn over buckets, pots and pools to avoid water collecting in them. Change water at least once a week in bird baths or any other containers that can't be moved. Screen off rain barrels and use water within a week after it's collected, and aerate fountains and other pools or stock them with fish.
Use repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or lemon-eucalyptus oil, and avoid exposure to outdoor mosquitos by limiting outdoor activity between dusk and dawn. Wear longer sleeves and pants if outside.
Earlier this month, the board and Health Department started its door-to-door outreach to remind residents about mosquito breeding and standing water hazards.