Wet weather brings mosquitoes, risk of West Nile Virus

Wet weather brings mosquitoes, risk of West Nile Virus

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Health officials are asking the public to protect themselves from mosquitoes as the summer season starts to roll in.

Rain hit South Louisiana hard during the month of April, and as summer approaches, many know the mixture of heat and wet weather will bring mosquitoes. One big problem is that the insects bring a potential danger with West Nile Virus.

"If you have hot summers and a lot of rain, that's going to produce more mosquitoes," said Dr. Kristen Healy a medical entomologist at LSU.

Healy studies anything that bites or can transmit disease, like mosquitoes and West Nile. She said for 80% of people who get infected with the virus nothing happens.

Fewer than 20 percent will develop flu-like symptoms, and only 1% will suffer from some type of serious neurological disease, for example meningitis, which can turn fatal. She added that people shouldn't be afraid.

"The West Nile virus is a risk every summer. So I think you go in to the summer thinking that catching the virus could be a possibility," said Healy.

Healy recommends that you wear long sleeves, keep bug repellent on hand and stay away from puddles or sitting water.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.