The state's first human cases of West Nile Virus were confirmed in Livingston parish last week by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
So far, there haven't been any cases confirmed in Lafayette Parish, but residents should still remember how to protect themselves from the virus.
West Nile virus, a mosquito transmitted infection, is already creating a stir after three asymptomatic cases were confirmed in Livingston Parish. Owner and general manager of Mosquito Control Contractors Incorporated, Glenn Stokes, says it's recently been found in other parts of the Pelican State.
"Stokes: "we have indicators of West Nile in one set location from Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans and we've also had live mosquito pools that have been positive in five parishes. This information just came in on Friday."
According to Stokes, so far Lafayette Parish has only had one blue jay test positive for West Nile in May. Stokes says although there have not been any other indicators, the virus can be found at any point.
Stokes: "It can change any time you know with weather changes, skin vector changes, immunity and so forth. It could change. We could have cases in Lafayette but it's always best to be prepared."
Doctor Tina Stefanski, with the Department of Public Health, says Louisiana had thirty-four cases of neuroinvasive disease which causes severe infection affecting the brain and spinal cord. Stefanksi says this deadly form of the virus is only found in one percent of people exposed, while other forms are found more often.
Stefanski: "90 percent of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito develop no symptoms. About ten percent of people who are bitten by a mosquito exposed to West Nile Virus develop what's called West Nile Fever which is similar to the flu.
Stokes says the peak season of the virus is around August and September and everyone should always remember the five Ds.
Stokes: "Observing the five d's which is drainage, the use of deet repellant, dusk and dawn or the peak times of mosquito activity and dress. According to Stokes, wearing light colored and loose fitting clothes will also help to prevent mosquito bites.
1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
Lafayette LA 70509