West Nile cases in EBR expected to increase

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control sent off nearly 90 mosquitoes samples last week. More than a third of them came back infected with West Nile.

Even though the infection rate right now isn't the highest they have seen, it is alarming enough for everyone to take precaution.

Pest Inspector Larry Gros is checking for any signs of baby mosquitoes, or larva, and plant pots provide a great breeding ground.

"They're going to swim in this water about a week and a half," said Gros.

Workers sends off a collection of samples to the lab each week. For every 1,000 mosquitoes sampled, any time six or more have come back infected, it raises concern.

Director Matt Yates said the latest batch spiked to 11.1 infected mosquitoes per 1,000 sampled.

"We will expect the number of human cases to increase," said Yates. "It's not the highest we've ever seen, but it is an unusually high number and it is a source of some concern. People really need to take care to avoid mosquito bites."

There have already been four known cases of the West Nile Virus this year in the state. Three of them were asymptomatic, and one was neuroinvasive.

Precautions people need to take include:

Avoid outdoor activities at dusk or dawn.
Try to wear long sleeve clothes and pants.
Wear mosquito repellent.
Empty out containers with standing water, and leave them on their side or upside down .

"Small items around the home, a can, a bottle, a child's toy, a bottle cap, anything that is holding water, will breed mosquitoes and produce a mosquito problem," said Yates.

But a solution can be as simple as checking pots after it rains. Mosquito larva need water to survive. Dump it out, and they're dead.

Anyone needing Mosquito Control's help, can call them at 22-356-3297.

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