Acadia Parish has first case of West Nile
By Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – The first evidence this year of the West Nile virus’ presence in Acadia parish was confirmed this past weekend.
The virus was detected from a water sample taken near the Castille Hwy. just west of Mire.
“We have a West Nile alert in Acadia parish,” said Glen Stokes of Mosquito Control Contractors Inc.
According to Stokes, a sample containing 14 mosquitos was sent off to LSU for testing and came back positive for West Nile.
“We are going to be doubling our efforts within a one-mile radius of where the positive sample was taken,” said Stokes. “We will be attempting to bring the mosquito population in the area down to the lowest possible number.”
The West Nile virus was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 1999 and has rapidly spread across the North American continent into all 48 continental states. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 15,000 people in the U.S. have tested positive for West Nile virus since 1999, including over 500 deaths.
Statistically, a person’s risk of contracting West Nile is low, and less than 1% of those infected develop serious illness from the virus. Those at highest risk for serious illness are the elderly and those with lowered immune systems. However, people of all ages can develop serious illness, so it is important for everyone to protect themselves from mosquito to minimize the risk of infection.