Aerial Sprays in Ouachita Parish Attempt to Contain Mosquito Virus

OUACHITA PARISH -- In Ouachita Parish, no human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported, according to Mosquito Abatement. But, officials warn residents to remain vigilant.

So far, there have been no reported human infections in Ouachita Parish. But the total number of pools testing positive for West Nile Virus is up to nine in the area. Just last week, several new mosquito pools tested positive in the West Monroe area.

"Three pools that tested positive, were again at the beginning of the week," stated Shannon Rider with Ouachita Parish Mosquito Abatement.

According to Shannon Rider with Ouachita Parish Mosquito Abatement, some areas in West Monroe -- one near the high school - have since been sprayed twice by air.

"Last week's report showed a significant increase in disease in this area over the past month," Rider noted. "So, we tried to offset that by performing aerial spray operations this week in the areas that had been affected by West Nile."

Rider says that the virus typically follows a pattern as it spreads through the parish. And this year has been no different.

"It generally starts on the northern side before it moves to the southern side," explained Rider. "That's historically how it's always been."

But, the pattern is no guarantee that the next pools won't test positive elsewhere in the parish.

Rider says everyone should remain vigilant in protection from mosquitoes. She recommends using an EPA approved mosquito repellent during outdoor activities.

"Try to do those things that we often suggest that may keep mosquito activity around you at bay; wear light colored clothing and long sleeves," Rider suggested.

Last year's first human case of West Nile in Ouachita Parish was reported in late July. By continuing to spray, Mosquito Abatement hopes to postpone this year's first case even longer.

"We have hopefully alleviated the problem," said Rider. "Hopefully, we've contained it before it moves further."

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