In 2013 the DeSoto Parish Police Jury funded a new Mosquito Control program in response to concerns about the West Nile Virus.Today, two mosquito spray units and a third backup unit patrol 800 miles of roadway in DeSoto Parish every weekday from April to October attempting to control the mosquito population which carries such viruses as West Nile, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and Zika.
The Zika Virus was first discovered in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Africa in a captive, sentinel rhesus monkey.In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.Between 2013 and early 2014, the largest outbreak of Zika appeared in French Polynesia.Recently there has been an outbreak of the virus in Florida and South America.Because of the Olympics being held in South America, the world’s awareness of the virus has been raised.In fact the World Health Organization, a.k.a. WHO, has issued Zika Virus travel warnings for a multitude of countries around the world.
Currently the State of Louisiana has reported 22 cases of people infected with the Zika Virus.All of these cases have been proven to come from travelers visiting countries infected with Zika.Although Zika is the virus foremost on people’s minds the largest concern is still the West Nile Virus because it peaks at the change of seasons when migratory birds start arriving from other countries infected by the West Nile Virus.
So what are we doing to protect the citizens of DeSoto Parish?We are in constant contact with experts in Louisiana’s health programs.We spray mosquitoes every night during peak hours.We also work with LSU’s Entomology Program to be sure our mosquitoes do not become immune to the chemicals we are using.Finally, we trap and test mosquitoes in accordance with state guidelines, and we larvacide & adultacide areas of standing water.All of these activities help control the mosquito population in DeSoto Parish.By staying educated on treatments and procedures we can assure that the best program is in place for DeSoto Parish residents.
What’s next?This year we began setting traps in locations suspected of having mosquitoes that can transmit the Zika Virus.Later this year and next year we plan to set more traps to monitor mosquito populations and perform more testing.With these efforts we hope to beat the peak mosquito season and target our eradication efforts early and directly at those mosquitoes known to transmit the Zika Virus.
What can you do to help?Check your property for small containers and old tires that can hold water and get rid of them!Wear dark, loose, long sleeve clothing, and use Deet products to repel mosquitoes when outdoors.Call Mosquito Control at 871-2900 if you would like for us to come out and evaluate standing water on your property.Finally, teach others how to protect themselves, especially children, from a mosquito bite.