Our Views: West Nile still threat

Reports of new West Nile virus cases in Louisiana this summer are a reminder that residents should take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

West Nile, a mosquito-borne disease, often produces no symptoms in humans, but the disease can sometimes be very serious or even fatal when people contract the illness through mosquito bites.

Among the grave complications are paralysis and brain damage.

So far, the reported cases of West Nile virus in Louisiana stand at 21.

Last year, Louisiana had 160 cases of the most serious form of West Nile, which is down from 204 such cases in 2002, the year when reports were highest.

Residents should use mosquito repellent when spending time outdoors, and also apply repellent to children.

To reduce mosquito breeding, remove standing water from outdoor buckets and flower pots, and clean out roof gutters.

We hope that residents use these precautions during the autumn, too. Even after summer ends, mosquitoes can continue to thrive in Louisiana. That means that West Nile virus can continue to spread, too.