Viewpoint: August 7, 2012

State health officials Friday confirmed two West Nile Virus deaths, the first in Louisiana in four years. There were also 21 new cases of West Nile Virus infections last week, bringing this year's total to 53.

Of that, 13 were the most serious type, neuorinvasive disease, which in some cases could lead to swelling of the brain or spinal cord. That's a strong reminder to take precautions against mosquitos.

There are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. If you're going to be outside, wear a mosquito repellant containing DEET. But for children, use no more than 30 percent DEET. And, repellants should not be used on those younger than two months.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside for extended periods of time, avoid perfumes and colognes. And, one of the most important things you can do is eliminate standing water around your home.

Parishes around the state are remaining vigilant in mosquito control. Taking some control yourself with a few simple steps could go a long way.