Officials monitor mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus in West Baton Rouge Parish

Even though temperatures are starting to cool down, mosquito activity is still heating up in West Baton Rouge Parish.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 4:02 PM CDT
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WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Even though temperatures are starting to cool down, mosquito activity is still heating up in West Baton Rouge Parish.

“It’s always a threat during the summer season. West Nile Virus is here to stay,” said George Bragg, superintendent of West Baton Rouge’s Mosquito Control. “This year is a little more active than what we’ve had last year.”

Bragg said part of the reason for the mosquito activity is a lack of rainfall.

“When we have drought conditions like this, we don’t have as many mosquito numbers, but the virus goes up,” said Bragg.

They regularly submit samples from 23 of their parish-wide traps for testing. In the last week, they’ve found West Nile in the southern, central, and northern parts of West Baton Rouge Parish. Keep in mind, this is just in mosquitoes. There have been no reported cases in people this mosquito season, and Bragg wants to keep it that way.

“It’s an early warning indicator that a virus is present. It gives us an opportunity to get out there and activate control measures so that hopefully that virus that’s resent in the mosquito population doesn’t make that jump to the human population,” said Bragg.

Some of those control measures and additional spray trucks are across the parish every night this week. Meanwhile, Michael Joseph is doing something called larviciding.

“We usually larvicide with this solid larvicide, sometimes liquid larvicide, so usually I’m spending my day like this,” said Joseph. “I’m checking to see if we have any mosquito larvae.”

They’re throwing little packets called mosquito growth regulators in ditches and drains because they dissolve right when water hits them. It’ll keep healthy mosquitoes from growing, so they can’t transfer the virus.

“We want to encourage people to still take precautions, still take it seriously,” said Bragg. “We’ve still got a couple months of mosquito season so you should take precautions and avoid being bitten.”

Bragg said they’ll continue to monitor samples until the end of the season in November.

Some precautions you can take at home are repairing any tears in window or door screens, dumping standing water, and using bug repellent.

If you want to see the number of West Nile Virus cases in other parishes, you can see the latest data from the Louisiana Department of Health.

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