State health officials issue new West Nile Virus warnings - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

State health officials issue new West Nile Virus warnings

Updated:

New Orleans, La - Louisiana gets a new round of warnings to guard against mosquito bites. State health officials now link 12 deaths to the West Nile Virus, including one in New Orleans. 

"I find it a hazard in the neighborhood," said neighbor Kathleen Gaffney.

Neighbors who live on Mercedes Blvd. in Algiers complain a pool in a neighbors backyard is a breeding ground for mosquitos. One nearby resident believes no one has touched the pool since Katrina.

Last year, neighbors on the street say city health officials came out to the home twice to look at the pool, and still, nothing has been done.

"I'd be very concerned about pools left to go foul, I mean if a pool is chlorinated, it's not going to support mosquito life, but if there is algae growing in the pool, if the pool is just sitting there, if the chlorine has dissipated, then that's a set up where these bugs can go," said New Orleans former health Dir., Dr. Brobson Lutz.

Lutz says if the water can't be drained there are other options.

"Fish are a best friend against mosquitos, mosquitos are a fish caviar, they love them," said Lutz.

"It keeps the mosquitos away, it just keeps the whole environment better," said Gaffney.

State health officials say 12 people have now died as a result of the West Nile virus.

The victims include R.J. Gremillion, an elderly man from the Baton Rouge area. His family shared details of what they faced a few months ago, when they first realized he was sick.

"He started having tremors he could not control, but he didn't want to go to the hospital. The next morning, mom could not understand what he was saying, he could not walk well. That morning I go and see him at the hospital and he's sitting on the bed, he could barely talk, and he can't control his tremors, I stayed with him all day. By that night, he could only say one word at a time, his tremors were getting worse, he couldn't sit still, he was up, he was down, and for a point, he could stand up, but it took a while for him to concentrate, bend his knees and get into his bed," said Gremillion's son, Robert.

Gremillion, a U.S. air force veteran, a loving father and grandfather died in August.

"The peak time for West Nile is almost the end of August, early September, and we're already in October, and we're still having deaths, so, that means we've had quite an outbreak this year," said Lutz.

Health officials want people to continue to remain vigilant using repellent, especially at dawn and dusk. Wear long-sleeved shirts when outside for long periods, and drain stagnant water from around homes.

In Algiers, where a neighborhood worries about a rundown pool, the city Code Enforcement and Hearing Bureau plans to send a inspector out next week. But they say the owner has a right to deny access, and that could bring even more delays in solving the neighborhood problem once and for all.

If the city has to issue a warrant for that property, inspectors would have to go with a NOPD quality of life officer to possibly issue a summons, which would then go to Municipal Court.

Residents can check whether a property has been reported, by going to http://blightstatus.nola.gov

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