Posted: Jul 15, 2013 6:17 PM by Alex Labat
Updated: Jul 15, 2013 6:17 PM
Birds testing positive for West Nile have experts in Acadiana on high alert.
Last year, Lafayette and the state of Louisiana saw a high number of cases and fatalities due to West Nile.
In all, there were 397 total cases of the West Nile virus last year.
160 of those cases were Neuroinvasive.
21 were fatal.
This year however, the mosquito population has plummeted.
But that decline in numbers combined with other factors has created the perfect storm for the West Nile virus.
Glenn Stokes with Mosquito Control Contractors says after seeing the number of West Nile indicators in the area, he's on high alert.
"It's very very serious. I wouldn't want to get mosquito bites now, and not do anything about it", says Stokes.
Out of 21 test chickens used to identify the virus, 13 tested positive, all from Lafayette Parish.
And while we were there, a bluejay underwent the test, and it too was found positive.
Stokes says the rapid spread of the virus is due to a number of factors.
"It is a perfect storm. It's a perfect as a result of weather and lack of rainfall which is driving the birds to those mosquito breeding sites for water", says Stokes.
That rainfall provides the breeding ground for mosquitoes and the virus.
Dr. Tina Stefanski with the Department of health and hospitals says the best mosquito control is getting rid of standing water.
"It's raining outside today. If it's dry for a couple days this rain is going to sit and it's going to be a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes so do what you can to eliminate that" says Stefanski.
The state is currently at level 4 of a 5 level alert system, the one factor that would raise us to 5 would be human cases.
Since there have been no human cases yet reported, Stefanski is hoping to keep them at a minimum.
"The goal is for people to be aware of the information. Not to be alarmed but to be aware", says Stefanski.