High Water Brings Increased Risk Of West Nile To Louisiana
Standing water is the prime breeding ground for the mosquito. Mosquitoes have been found to be the major delivery device for many dangerous diseases to mankind. Malaria, the Zika virus, and West Nile Virus are some of the better known maladies that have been attributed to mosquitoes across the world.
The recent flooding and continued high water across South Louisiana means that mosquito breeding grounds are in tremendous supply. That has lead State Medical Director for the Center of Community Preparedness, Dr. Frank Welch, to issue advisory warning of a greater risk of mosquito born illness, especially West Nile.
So we’ve already established a partnership with FEMA, given there was a federal declaration to assist us with mosquito control two, three, four, five weeks down the road, so we’ve already set up those systems.
You might be wondering why the delay of two to five weeks. That reasoning is based upon the knowledge that flood waters tend to wash away the current crop of mosquito larvae and eggs. However, with the abundance of standing water a new infestation in the coming weeks seems a very likely scenario. That is when mosquito controls will need to be in place to get ahead of these insects.
We have 54 different kinds of mosquitoes in Louisiana, most of them nuisance mosquitoes, but one thing that West Nile mosquitoes like is after flooding.
A lot of media attention has been focused on the Zika virus. Welch suggested in his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network that Zika will not be as great a concern as West Nile will be. Studies show the mosquitoes that carry West Nile really thrive in floodwater situations. That doesn't mean the threat of Zika will be ignored.
We still have to stay focused on maintaining that vigilance for the southeastern part of Louisiana for the Zika virus because it has been raining a lot in the New Orleans area.
You can help your community control mosquitoes by checking your property for areas of standing water. Look for flower pots, children's toys, watering cans, or other areas where even a small amount water can collect. If we destroy the mosquitoes' breeding ground we can certainly aid in protecting ourselves and our families.