West Nile Virus spreads in St. Tammany Parish

MGN Online
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 11:56am

St. Tammany Parish, LA (WGNO) -- A warning tonight for neighbors in St. Tammany Parish. West Nile Virus is spreading among mosquitoes there. WGNO News Anchor Vanessa Bolano talks testing and precautions from the North Shore.

No one likes mosquitoes, but mix them with West Nile and the outcome is quite concerning.

"West Nile can be very deadly too, if it's not treated," says Slidell resident Ann Marie Whitney.

Whitney says she's constantly spraying her two boys with bug repellent.

According to the Louisina Department of Health and Hospitals as of August 1st there are six new cases of West Nile in the state, bringing this year's total to 15. Reports show one person has died.

St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District Director Chuck Palmisano says one adult in Madisonville is fighting the virus right now.

"We expect West Nile activity to be here every year. The concerning issue is the fact that we've had 14 positives in one week," explains Palmisano.

Palmisano says they've been testing mosquito pools for West Nile since February. Last month he says ten sites tested positive, and just now those numbers have doubled. As of Friday 20 sites show signs of the virus.

"We've had positive samples in Mandeville, Covington, Madisonville, Slidell, Pearl River, the community of St. Tammany, Abita Springs; all these locations we've had positive samples, and again we're really putting special emphasis on proving control in those areas," says Palmisano.

Palmisano says they're spraying ditches daily and aerial spraying roughly four times a week.

According to reports the Southern House Mosquito is the primary carrier for West Nile in St. Tammany. It's a mosquito that's active at night and likes to fly indoors.

Palmisano warns: keep homes secure, patios dry, and use insect repellent with deet.

"I also do the old time myth where they put the fabric sheets, Gain, and if you do that, that helps repel the mosquitoes too," says Whitney.

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