Climate Change and Mosquitoes

Climate change is an ongoing shift in the earth’s normal temperatures. New Orleans will have warmer temperatures during the year. As the seasons get warmer and rainier, New Orleans will become more favorable to mosquitoes. Longer, warmer, and wetter seasons will allow mosquitoes to breed more throughout the year. An increase in mosquitoes will also increase the risk of spreading diseases. Mosquitoes can spread diseases like Zika and West Nile.


Zika Virus

Zika virus is spread by an infected mosquito or when an infected person has unprotected sex with another person. Most people with Zika do not know they have it. Symptoms are usually mild and last about a week.

Common symptoms:

Fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other symptoms include headache and muscle pain. If you develop symptoms within two weeks of travel, see a doctor or nurse and tell them where you traveled.

Pregnant women should discuss any travel plans with their doctor or nurse before going. Zika can cause a birth defect called microcephaly and other severe brain birth defects.

West Nile Virus

Most people infected with West Nile do not have symptoms.

Common symptoms:

Fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Symptoms such as tiredness and weakness can last for weeks or months.

The elderly and those with medical issues are more likely to develop serious symptoms. In rare cases, people with West Nile can develop swelling or infection of the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding tissues.

For more information

Currently the City of New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board and the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) are working with partners to provide you with information about mosquito-borne diseases. Efforts to limit the mosquito population will use a combination of chemical control and habitat reduction methods as needed.

If you have questions, please call 311 for further information and assistance, or visit:

On Twitter: @NOLAhealthdept

On Facebook: @NOLAhealthdept

How to protect yourself

Cover your skinby wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants. For extra protection, treat clothing with permethrin insect repellent.

Remove standing wateraround the home in places such as plant containers, tires, pet dishes and buckets.

Dawn and dusk is when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.

EPA-registered insect repellentswhen used as directed, are proven safe and effective even for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

  • Look for these ingredients: DEET, picardin, IR3535, OLE, or PMD.

  • Reapply insect repellent as directed.

  • Apply sunscreen before insect repellent.

  • Do not apply repellent directly to a child’s face. Spray it into your hand first, then apply.

Practice safe sex because Zika can be sexually transmitted. It is important to always use condoms.


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