WNV cases down, experts warn against lowering guard - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

WNV cases down, experts warn against lowering guar

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ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

Mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus are starting to make their presence known in south Louisiana.

The Centers for Disease Control is finding the number of West Nile Cases is down, but experts warn it's not time to let down your guard.

Mosquito Control Specialist, Shawn Sevario, rides the streets of Ascension Parish every day looking for water near houses, in containers and ditches, anywhere that might create a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"Closer to swamp areas is probably your worst areas right now, low lying areas is where we find the most problems. We're seeing different kinds of species and the population is getting higher," Sevario said.

Sevario said the 27 mosquito traps in the parish are filling up. While those species are separated and shipped to a lab for testing, specialists continue making their rounds, scooping catch basins looking for larva. When they find it, they treat the area.

"This has oil in it and it creates an oil film mover the water so when the larva comes up to get air, they suck up air and it kills them," Sevario said.

They treat the earth but count on homeowners to tackle the potential breeding grounds sitting in their own yards.

Mosquito Parish Mosquito Control Director, David Matassa, said something as simple as a birdbath can attract schools of mosquitoes.

"Just like a vampire has got to have blood a mosquito has to have water to breed period. They cannot breed without water," Matassa said.

He said mosquitoes are present and current weather conditions are favorable for reproduction and infestation.

"We have these showers, cooler temps, less evaporation is taking place and eggs are starting to hatch, so population is starting to increase," Matassa said.

The parish is doing its part to fight the bite.

"We drive around ten miles per hour. When we spray at night, we try to spray when it gets dark and two or three hours after that," Sevario said.

Specialists are asking that residents pitch in, too.

"Go out in your backyard. This is the perfect time to get those containers that hold water," Matassa said.

Mosquito specialists have also started making extra rounds at schools and ball parks to treat playground equipment.

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