Anticipating Hurricane Harvey's Effect on West Nile and Zika

Mosquito trap

Health officials say that although individuals over age 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease.

Residents of Patterson can expect increased spraying for mosquitos from Cajun Mosquito Control after the Louisiana State University Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab confirmed a positive West Nile chicken within the city limits. According to hospital officials, it does mean that the public should understand the symptoms of West Nile virus and be vigilant in protecting against the disease.

Most people who are infected with the West Nile virus develop no symptoms or such mild symptoms that they do not feel ill. However, in the coming weeks, as floodwaters recede and form pools of stagnant standing water, the new pools may become breeding areas for the Aedes aegypti mosquitos that carry and spread the viruses.

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"It is very important that people take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites", advises Dr. Vaishampayan.

Results provide information on the numbers and types of mosquitoes present, as well as the rates of infection with WNV and other viruses that may have public health importance.

Dr. Soule said that, although there is no cure for an infection with West Nile virus, and no vaccine is now available, there are ways to prevent it. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. However, some people do develop febrile illness, which can produce fever, headaches, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

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When people do show symptoms, they can mimic those of flu or what people call "stomach flu", Dr. Soule noted.

Apply insect repellents on exposed skin or clothing. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old auto tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.

"The higher wind from a fan will help keep the mosquitoes from landing on you", said Hausbeck.

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To protect yourself from the virus, it's recommended you wear light-coloured trousers and a long-sleeved shirt when outside.


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