West Nile in area, mosquito problem persists

Olivia Barfield

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With a case of West Nile virus confirmed in Ouachita Parish and 14 cases confirmed statewide, students are being encouraged to take extra precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

To add, two pools of area mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile on Aug. 25, according to the Mosquito Abatement District. One positive pool was pulled from Monroe, the other from West Monroe.

Both of the affected areas have been treated by air.

A case of the Zika virus has also been confirmed in Ouachita Parish, although it is travel-related and the case was confirmed at an unknown time.

According to Cassey Bernstein, environmental health and safety officer for the university, the mosquito problem is “particularly bad” due to the wet summer Louisiana has experienced.

The university is increasing its efforts to prevent mosquito problems by using fogging trucks more often. These trucks drive around campus in the evening and release a low-dose pesticide that kills mosquitoes and is unlikely to harm humans.

Bernstein encouraged students to do what they could to prevent mosquito bites as well by wearing insect repellent, avoiding long exposures at dusk and dawn, keeping doors closed and avoiding areas with standing water.

For many students, this is the worst case of mosquitoes they have ever seen while at ULM. Sebastian Moncayo, a graduate business student from Ecuador, has lived in Monroe for six years and has been unpleasantly surprised by the mosquitoes’ magnitude this year.

While playing a game of soccer outside, Moncayo was bitten at least 30 times on his legs and arms.

“This year they have been more killer than any other time,” Moncayo said.

With the weather beginning to cool down, Moncayo hopes to see an end to the mosquitoes’ reign soon.