BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Department of Health is sending out a warning after recent samples have shown a sharp increase in the West Nile Virus compared to last year.

Around this time in 2021, only 13 pools tested positive compared to 175 this year.

LDH says, “The high number of positive cases in the pool samples means there is a greater risk of West Nile virus spreading to humans, though no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year so far.”

So what can you do to protect yourself and your home from the West Niles Virus?

  • If you will be outside, you should wear EPA-registered approved mosquito repellent and always follow product label instructions.
  • Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing, but do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
  • To protect yourself from being exposed to mosquitos while indoors, make sure that windows and doors are tight-fitting, and that all screens are free of holes.
  • Reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around your home, which is where mosquitoes breed.
  • Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property that may collect water. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children’s toys or anything that could collect water.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. If a recycling container has holes on the sides, there is still room for the container to collect water for mosquitoes to breed, so holes should be added on the bottom if not already present.
  • Check and clean roof gutters routinely. Clogged gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
  • Water gardens and ornamental pools can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Take steps to prevent stagnation, such as adding fish or aeration.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family for a little as a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
  • Contact local mosquito abatement districts to report problem mosquito areas.

“Now is the time to start protecting yourself from mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites around your home,” said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “We’re getting early warning signs from our Mosquito Abatement District samples across the state that West Nile Virus could result in higher case counts among humans this summer.”

You can learn more about the West Nile Virus here.