With the arrival of autumn, many Louisiana residents might assume that challenges with mosquitoes — and the diseases carried by mosquitoes — are behind us for another year.
But those challenges continue, as we’ve been reminded by the news of new West Nile virus cases in the state.
Humans can get the West Nile virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. Many people who contract West Nile virus get no symptoms, but for others, the virus can cause problems ranging from flu-like symptoms to paralysis, brain damage and even death.
This year, Louisiana has recorded the most West Nile cases since 2002, with 312 reported cases and 12 deaths from the disease. In 2002, Louisiana had 328 reported cases of West Nile virus and 24 deaths.
The easiest way to reduce the incidence of West Nile virus is to reduce Louisiana’s mosquito population and prevent residents from getting mosquito bites.
That means wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when planning to be outdoors for long periods of time, and using insect repellant, too. Homeowners should also dispose of standing water around their property where mosquitoes can breed. Buckets, flower pots, tin cans and other vessels that catch standing water should be emptied.
We urge all residents to take proper precautions. Clearly, Louisiana residents continue to face dangers from West Nile virus. We hope for the day, perhaps not too far off, when West Nile cases will subside until spring.