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The City of New Orleans

Plan for Emergencies


Mosquito-Borne Disease

Rains and warm temperatures make New Orleans a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquito season usually begins in the spring and slows down in the fall. Mosquitoes can carry diseases that are harmful to people, like West Nile and Zika viruses. 

During mosquito season

The City's Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board monitors mosquito populations. It also controls the mosquito population through education, habitat reduction, and treatment of larval and adult mosquitoes. But that doesn't totally eliminate the risk of disease. There are simple things you can do to help control the population and protect yourself. Mosquitoes need water to breed, so getting rid of standing water can go a long way.

Protect yourself from bites

  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
  • Use insect repellent with ingredients like DEET, picaridin, IR3535, OLE, or PMD.
  • Put sunscreen on before insect repellent.
  • Keep doors and windows closed, or install screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

Control the population

  • Remove trash and clutter like old tires, buckets, and tarps.  
  • Empty standing water from containers like pet dishes, children's toys, and flowerpots. 
  • Keep water fresh in containers like bird baths and kiddie pools.
  • Clean gutters and catch basins.
  • Call 311 to report illegal dumping, abandoned swimming pools, and water leaks.

Zika and West Nile viruses 

Zika Virus

There are currently no locally transmitted cases of Zika in New Orleans. The Zika virus spreads to people through mosquito bites and is sexually transmitted. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. 

A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect called microcephaly. Other severe fetal brain defects can occur too.


West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne illness in the United States, and is also found in Louisiana. Symptoms include headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, fatigue, and weakness.