WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - People living in West Baton Rouge are strongly urged to wear mosquito repellent when outdoors after last week's round of testing.
West Baton Rouge Mosquito Control reported that nearly half of the mosquito samples the collected last week tested positive for West Nile virus. According to officials, this is the largest number of samples to test positive in one week in 2017.
The agency released the information in a public Facebook post this week.
"Twenty of the samples that we turned in out to the 56 tested positive for West Nile virus," George Bragg, director for WBR Mosquito Control.
Bragg says crews are already out doing what they can to combat the problem.
"Once we get notified of a positive we send spray trucks in that area for a minimum of two nights or three nights as long as the weather cooperates," he said.
WAFB's Scottie Hunter asked if the numbers are alarming this time of the year.
"Yeah," Bragg said. "I mean it's indicative that we have high activity of the virus going on."
Bragg says the biggest threat is in the more heavily populated areas of the parish.
"That's places like downtown Port Allen, the Brusly area and the Addis area," he added.
While seven of the 20 spots they monitor across the parish have mosquitoes that test positive for the virus, Bragg does not want folks to panic.
"This year is a little more active than the last couple of years we've seen but we hope by putting things on social media that people will take the proper precautions," he said.
It is more likely to affect the elderly and the those younger than 2 years old but Bragg says anyone could get the virus if exposed to an infected mosquito.
As crews begin hitting those problem areas hard, Bragg says it is important for people to be prepared. If you are bitten and feel funny, his advice is to see a doctor.
"Fever is the big thing," Bragg added. "If you got a fever especially as an adult that's not coming down or can't be controlled, it needs to be checked out."
In addition to repellent, officials urge people to avoid being outside around dusk and dawn because that's when the insects are most active.
They added floodwater mosquitoes are also showing up in some areas due to recent daily rains.
WBRMC said it will spray in all of the areas that tested positive starting Tuesday night.