Mosquito outbreak worst in three years

The American Press

<div class="popup_content_wrapper"><div class="popup_content_under_toolbar article_content" data-role="article_content"><div class="article_viewer ArticleViewer text use-3d ltr" data-role="article-viewer" data-olive-control="ArticleViewer"><div class="animation-wrapper"><div class="align-wrapper offset-wrapper"><div class="zoom-wrapper"><div class="article" lang="en" xml_lang="en" data-view-mode="text"><div class="Content"><p class="indent">If you’ve been outside recently, especially early or late in the day, chances are you’ve encountered a swarm of mosquitoes.</p><p class="indent">The pests are nothing new for our area. But this year has seen a rise in activity, with Calcasieu Parish Mosquito Control officials calling it the worst outbreak in three years.</p><p class="indent">Just over 1,000 pools statewide have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a Sept. 8 report from the state Health Department. So far, there have been 79 confirmed human cases of West Nile. Forty-eight were neuroinvasive, and four were fatal.</p><p class="indent">Calcasieu residents don’t just have to worry about West Nile. Another virus, St. Louis encephalitis, was recently discovered in two pools that were tested. Five other parishes also had pools that tested positive for the virus, according to the report.</p><p class="indent">The symptoms associated with St. Louis encephalitis are comparable to West Nile. Less than 1 percent of those infected show any symptoms. Those infected won’t show symptoms until roughly five to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.</p><p class="indent">Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. It can also cause an inflammation of the brain, with rare cases being fatal.</p><p class="indent">Calcasieu hasn’t had a positive St. Louis encephalitis virus mosquito pool since 2010. While it doesn’t appear as frequently as West Nile, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t protect themselves when outdoors.</p><p class="indent">Wear pants and long sleeves, especially at dawn, dusk and at night. Always keep mosquito repellent handy to keep them at bay. These simple steps can avoid you from being bitten, and potentially exposed to either virus.</p><p class="indent">One misconception about mosquito activity is that more positive mosquito pools mean more related deaths. This time last year, only 390 pools tested positive for West Nile, and there were 39 confirmed human cases. But there were three deaths, one fewer than this year.</p><p class="indent">Until the mosquito activity slows down in Southwest Louisiana, residents should continue to use common sense when outdoors.</p><p class="indent">Even though most people who are infected with West Nile or St. Louis encephalitis may never know they have it, it’s better to be safe than sorry.</p></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div>””Calcasieu Parish Mosquito ControlCourtesy of Calcasieu Parish Twitter (@cppj)