West Nile virus affecting St. Tammany, but overall numbers low

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 9 at 6:21 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

SLIDELL, La. -- So far this year, St. Tammany is the only parish in the metro area with reports of the West Nile Virus in humans.

The parish's mosquito control department says there are a handful of areas they've targeted the most this year after results consistently showed the presence of West Nile in July.

Since then, four cases of West Nile in humans have been reported in Covington, Abita Springs and Mandeville. Only one was the neuroinvasive disease, which is the most severe, infecting the brain and spinal cord.

"Every case concerns me, fever cases, even the asymptomatic, so that's what we're here for. We want to try to reduce the potential risk for human involvement," said Mosquito Abatement Director Chuck Palmisano.

And while there have been human cases reported, compared to last year, 2013's numbers are encouraging.

"It looks like we're on the downside of the cycle," he said. "Over the last month, we've only had four positive mosquito samples for West Nile virus out of 262 that we're sampling, so that is looking very good."

Despite the numbers being down this year, mosquito control says you still need to be aware of ditches, keep yourself sprayed with repellant all the time and to keep your properties maintained to prevent any breeding grounds from growing.

At last count, Ouachita Parish led the state in human cases of West Nile with 14 reports, followed by Lafayette with six and St. Tammany Parish with four. One death has been reported in Rapides Parish.

 

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