West Nile mosquitoes found in St. John

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 4, 2009


LAPLACE — St. John Parish Officials announced Tuesday that a pair of mosquito samples taken from two parts of the parish last week have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said testers from St. John Mosquito Control informed the parish Monday that the samples, one taken from the Windsor Drive area of LaPlace and the other from Sorapuru Lane in Lucy, tested positive for West Nile Encephalitis. Boe said the samples were taken on July 28 and sent to the Louisiana Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Baton Rouge to be analyzed.

Boe said the samples are the first incidence of West Nile Virus in St. John since last year. He said no human cases of the virus have been confirmed.

Boe said St. John’s mosquito program is taking aggressive action in response to the discovery including increased spraying in the locations where the samples were taken. He said the spraying will be conducted in the evening starting Tuesday and extending through Thursday.

Officials from the St. John Department of Public Safety are asking all residents to take necessary precautions around their home to prevent further breeding, such as regularly emptying any containers holding water, avoiding over watering of plants, maintaining proper maintenance of swimming pools, checking overhangs and gutters for water and filling hollow tree stumps with sand and water.

Boe said residents should avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk, wear long sleeves and long pants when outside and use insect repellant containing DEET according to label directions.

Residents within a five-block radius of the area of the West Nile discovery are being notified through the distribution of pamphlets by mosquito control. Mosquito control personnel will be conducting inspections in the surrounding areas.

Residents with any questions regarding the situation or for more information in helping to control the mosquito population in St. John should visit www.fightthebitelouisiana.com or 1-888-246-2675. There is also additional information on the parish’s Web site at www.sjbparish.gov.