St. Louis encephalitis found in mosquitos in parish

Tests last week indicate the presence of St. Louis encephalitis in mosquitos in two areas of Iberia Parish, the parish Mosquito Abatement District reports.

The Iberia Parish Mosquito Abatement District has notified the public that tests last week indicated the presence of encephalitis in mosquitoes caught in two areas of the parish.

According to an IPMAD press release, genetic testing at the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for St. Louis encephalitis was positive in samples from the Lucerne area and also from the Gajan area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states St. Louis encephalitis is a viral disease spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with the SLE virus have no apparent illness. Initial symptoms of those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. Severe neuroinvasive disease occurs more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result.

There are no vaccines to prevent — nor medications to treat — SLE.

The mosquito abatement district release said if residents must be outdoors, they should wear mosquito repellent, cover exposed skin and avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.

Residents throughout the Parish are urged to follow these simple guidelines recommended by the CDC:

• Apply mosquito repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and apply as directed on the label.

• Protect children sensitive to insect bites with repellent and cover exposed skin. There are many preparations sold in drug stores and camping sections of local stores that are formulated for adults as well as children.

• Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants when outdoors particularly at dawn and dusk.

• Avoid wearing perfumes or colognes when outside for prolonged periods.

Anyone with questions or mosquito related problems can contact the IPMAD office at 365-4933. Questions after office hours should be referred to Herff Jones at 380-7140.

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