Sentinel chickens positive for West Nile


PATTERSON — While no human cases have been reported, the West Nile virus is “alive and well in St. Mary Parish,” said Jessie Boudreaux of Cajun Mosquito Control in Houma.

Four sentinel chickens — two in Patterson and two in Cypremort Point — tested positive for the virus Friday, he said.

In response to the positive tests, the company completed three nights of spraying in those areas. Inspections will continue in both areas for stagnant drainage areas, and larvicide will be applied to control juvenile mosquito populations, Boudreaux said.

While the sentinel chickens tested positive, nine mosquito pools between the two locations tested negative, he said.

Boudreaux said there was an initial bump in mosquito numbers detected eight days after Hurricane Isaac, but population numbers are near the normal range for this time of year now.

Other sections of the parish, tested by Glenn Stokes of Mosquito Control Contractors Inc. in New Iberia, were negative for West Nile virus.

Both companies send samples to Louisiana State University for testing weekly with results received each Friday.

Both also said they expect mosquito populations to increase through September and October.

The number of West Nile virus infections in Louisiana has reached 215, with 39 new cases reported in the past week.

No new deaths were added in the latest report. The death toll from the virus is at 10 this year.

Louisiana’s health department said the state is experiencing its highest number of West Nile cases in years.

Hurricane Isaac is getting some of the blame.

“Hurricane Isaac left behind a lot of water, which, left standing, is a risk for mosquitoes breeding and swarming,” Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said in a news release.

West Nile virus usually results in no symptoms, but it can cause West Nile fever that produces flu-like symptoms. In some cases it can cause neuroinvasive disease, which can result in paralysis, brain damage or death.

There were 11 new neuroinvasive disease cases reported in Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Livingston, Lincoln, Richland, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. Ten of these cases are newly reported infections, and one is a previously diagnosed case that progressed into neuroinvasive disease.

There are 28 new West Nile Fever cases, from Ascension, Caddo, Calcasieu, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, St. Charles, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington and West Baton Rouge parishes.

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