First case of West Nile Virus in Louisiana reported

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It is 29 weeks into the Center for Disease Control's disease calendar, and only 23 human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported nationwide.  Mississippi leads with six total case: extremely low numbers compared to this time last year.  The first case in Louisiana was identified Wednesday in a horse in Livingston Parish.

According the Department of Health and Hospitals, there are no confirmed human cases reported in Louisiana as of July 16.

"We were kind of anticipating that this year may not be as bad but we never know until probably end of August or September if we'll dodge the bullet or not," said EBR Mosquito Abatement Assistant Director Randy Vaeth.

In East Baton Rouge Parish, mosquito abatement officials say their active truck and aerial spraying are partly to credit for the low activity so far.  Officials say the key is attacking mosquito larvae as well as adults.

"We're treating almost 5,000 miles a month with four trucks just for larvicide," explained Vaeth.

While the human case numbers may be lower this summer, officials say there are still mosquitoes testing positive for the virus.  So it is important to protect yourself with repellant.  While some people may have concerns about the chemicals found in bug spray, experts say most -like deet- are safe if used as directed.

"Definitely don't apply it more often than what the label says. I think generally they're good for 8-12 hours," said EBR Mosquito Abatement Director Dr. Todd Walker.

Research shows deet is the most effective chemical in repelling mosquitoes, however the chemical is also very potent.  Walker explains that high concentrations of the chemical can melt plastic.

"You really don't need to go anything over 30 percent with that compound [for bug repellant]," said Walker.

Children should not use anything containing more than 10 percent deet.

If you don't want to use repellent, give mosquitoes a smaller target by keeping skin covered with long sleeves and long pants. Also, never leave standing water.

If your house or neighborhood is seeing a high number of the bugs, you can call mosquito abatement for free treatment at (225) 356-3297.

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