The state Department of Health recently reported the first human cases of West Nile virus for this year. "Now that the virus has appeared in St. Charles County, we are increasing treatment protocols for the surrounding areas", explains Ryan Tilley, Director of the Division of Environmental Health and Protection.
The virus is transmitted to people via the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the disease from an infected bird.
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease - This is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord.
As of Friday, July 20th the State Health Department says West Nile has been detected in blood donations from Faulk, Hand, Potter and Todd Counties.
Jesse Boudreaux Jr. of Cajun Mosquito Control LLC, the mosquito contractor for several local governments, said the LSU Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab has confirmed that mosquitos trapped in the Four Corners-Glencoe area have been confirmed to be carrying West Nile.
"West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes is the highest OH has seen this early in the season since 2012 when we reported 122 human cases for the year", said Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases, in a statement. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. Such symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever, headache, body ache, fatigue, nausea, and rash.
Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or PMD. They urge you to dump standing water near your home so mosquitoes can't breed.
West Nile virus activity generally decreases in the fall when cooler temperatures arrive and especially after the first frost of the season, the release stated.
Set up outdoor fans to keep mosquitoes from flying near you.
"These symptoms generally appear two to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito", the agency said.