The West Nile virus has officially made its way into Acadiana.
The first case of the year was confirmed June12th in Acadia Parish. The disease was detected in a sentinel chicken near the community of Maxie.
Mosquito Control Expert, Glenn Stokes, says having a case in June is a key indicator that this could be an above-average year for West Nile. “We’re only in Mid-June and it pertains a bad year. We got the warm weather. We got the water. It’s the perfect menu for production of a West Nile virus and other mosquito diseases.”
Stokes says the peak for West Nile is usually between August and October, and he also says there has been an increase in the southern house mosquito which is a main vector of West Nile
Stokes says people should be extra careful when outside this year because 80 percent of carriers, don’t realize they have been infected.
“Avoid mosquitoes, repellent, clothing and pay attention to the time of day you are active. Don’t breed mosquitoes around your home. You should limit all standing water so much as possible,” says Stokes.
Also keep in mind horses. One local veterinarian, Dr. Amy Hamilton, says the virus can be deadly to unvaccinated horses. “It basically affects the horse’s nervous system or neurologic system. It can cause them to become toxic or they basically kind of look drunk. They may not be able to walk in a straight line. It affects their brain and spinal cord.”
Stokes says his team is making every effort to inform residents that live near the area where the chicken became infected. “We’re going through the West Nile protocol of spraying. We’re going door to door treating all the breeding sites, warning the people and encouraging them to vaccinate all horses.”
Stokes said remember the rule to avoid mosquito bites lies in the five D’s: drainage, Deet, dusk, dawn, and dress.
KLFY, News 10 has confirmed with MCCI, Mosquito Control, that a case of West Nile Virus has been found in Acadia Parish.
Glenn Stokes with Mosquito Control tells News 10 that a chicken tested positive for the virus near the community of Maxie.
Stokes encourages all horse owners to get their horses vaccinated immediately. “These are early indicators that West Nile is active and is a threat. So people should take precautions.
And also, all horse owners should get their horses vaccinated because West Nile is here and it is early in the year.”
This is the second confirmed case found in a chicken in Louisiana. The other was in Terrebonne.
Stokes says 4 other mosquito pools were collected in the state. Two were in Ouachita Parish, and two were in St. Tammany Parish.