Lafourche Parish officials are spreading the word after mosquitoes in the Larose-Cut Off area were found last week to carry the West Nile virus. In June, the virus was found in mosquitoes in the Lockport area.

Now that summer is in full swing, and mosquitoes are most active, it's a good time to remember to take precautions against the disease-carrying insects.

The vast majority of people will never get infected by potentially debilitating or deadly diseases like West Nile, Zika or chikungunya, so there is no reason to panic. 

Mosquito-control workers have sprayed insecticides more heavily in the areas where infected mosquitoes have been found. And that should be some help. But you are in the best position to determine how likely you are to be bitten.


The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Health Department offer these tips:

• Eliminate standing water around your house that can breed mosquitoes. If you have old tires or furniture, unused flower pots or appliances sitting around your yard, you could be providing a breeding ground without even knowing it. Check and clean roof gutters routinely. Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.

• Use insect repellent that contains DEET.

• Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outside.

• Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

• Use window and door screens. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home, sleep under a mosquito bed net.

If you experience symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiff neck or disorientation, go to a doctor or hospital.

We live in a place where mosquitoes are numerous. Why take extra chances when they could be spreading dangerous illnesses?

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.