The Integrated Mosquito Control Program currently used in St. Martin Parish is an adult mosquito truck program based upon current mosquito data. The Parish assesses the mosquito data and coordinates where, when, and how often sprays are provided, based on mosquito pool testing sites and from 27 traps which are strategically located throughout the Parish. In the past, sentinel chickens were components of the diseased mosquito surveillance. However, beginning in 2019, the Louisiana Arboviral Sampling Standards Committee recommended that no sentinel chickens or dead birds would be tested. Consequently, our contractor has been even more vigilant in the surveillance of the strategically placed mosquito traps. Once a week, the contractor checks these traps to determine the number of mosquitoes in each trap and after testing, whether there is any evidence of disease or significant increases in overall adult mosquito numbers. Based upon the data received, spraying crews are then assigned to those areas where any mosquito borne disease has been confirmed and/or those areas with the highest adult mosquito counts were located.

Recently, the Parish has experienced an increase in the number of adult mosquitoes. However, the mosquito counts are not out of the ordinary for this time of year. As of this date, the Louisiana Department of Health has not reported any human case of West Nile virus. Nonetheless, several weeks ago, Parish President Chester Cedars was advised by our independent contractor for mosquito control that three mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile virus in the Cecilia, Henderson, and Cade areas. In response, and for precautionary reasons, our mosquito contractor was instructed to immediately increase spraying in those areas. Subsequently, the follow up pools did not yield any positive results.

Even though our Parish, and State, currently have no reports of a positive human case, it has been only a week or so since there were positive pool test results. Hence, the public should nonetheless enhance efforts to PROTECT themselves because mosquito control/abatement does not mean “mosquito elimination.”

After consultation with our contractor, the following guidelines have been developed for easy reference:
“1) Residents are encouraged to wear insect repellent, preferably one containing DEET. Always read repellent labels carefully, especially for usage on younger children. Also, try to wear light colored, long sleeve clothing and socks. Darker colored clothing attracts mosquitoes.
2) Repair or replace broken screens on windows and doors: and, avoid using perfumes or colognes.
3) Residents should remove any standing water around their homes or businesses. Clogged rain gutters and pet water bowls can produce thousands of mosquitoes per week and something as small as a coke can or bottle cap can produce a breeding site for mosquitoes. Remember, please remove any standing/stagnant water.
4) Avoiding mosquitoes at their peak activity times of dusk and dawn is highly recommended, but if one must be outside, please wear repellent.
5) Personal protection and yard sanitation are recommended and encouraged.
6) During the evening hours ULV Truck mounted sprayers will be assigned to spray within the Parish of St. Martin in an effort to reduce/maintain the vector population below critical levels as noted in the CDC Expanded Protocol measures. Spraying will be conducted for three consecutive evenings in the affected areas, weather permitting.
7) The efficacy of the Truck Spraying operations will be determined through the use of Mosquito Traps and Landing Rates that are scheduled for operation and performed immediately following the completion of the adult mosquito control activities. The number of mosquitoes collected will serve to quantify the adult population and provide additional specimens to be submitted for retesting at Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab.”

Furthermore, helpful links with valuable mosquito protection information are provided through the website of the Parish’s contractor at: cajunmosquitocontrol.com.”

Additional links are found on the website of the Louisiana Department of Health at: https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/1930.

Finally, please note that according to the La. Department of Health, COVID-19 is not transmitted via mosquitoes.