West Nile virus found in Covington

COVINGTON - Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus have been found in St. Tammany Parish.

The infected mosquitoes were collected in the Covington area over the course of the past two weeks, according to the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District.

This is the first time mosquitoes carrying West Nile have been detected in St. Tammany this year.

“The presence of WNV in mosquitoes indicates an elevated risk to people in the area,” Dr. Kevin Caillouet of the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement office said in a press release. “Residents in the Covington area can expect to see increased mosquito abatement efforts, including daytime larval inspections and treatments, and nighttime mosquito spraying with trucks and airplanes.”

Over 1,500 samples of mosquitoes have been collected in St. Tammany so far this year at over 90 sites across the parish.

Three of the 190 samples collected last week tested positive for West Nile.

“We ask residents to do their part to reduce their risk of contracting WNV by making certain their septic systems are in proper working order, including having them pumped out if necessary, and checking to make certain aerators are operable,” Caillouet said. “Also, controlling the vegetation in the ditches helps to allow the larval control treatments to reach the water surfaces.”

Residents are also urged to minimize their exposure to mosquitoes by wearing CDC approved mosquito repellent, avoiding the peak biting hours one hour prior to and after dusk and dawn, and wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants.