Health

Sep 3, 2012 10:23 PM by Maddie Garrett

Wet Weather Increases Mosquitoes and West Nile Risk

A warning everyone in Acadiana needs to know about: Mosquito populations are on the rise and the risk of West Nile could increase.

Wet weather from Hurricane Isaac is to blame. As we see more mosquitoes, there's also a growing concern over West Nile Virus. It's already been a very rough year when it comes to the mosquito-borne disease. According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, so far this year, 145 human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported, resulting in nine deaths statewide.

"Mosquitoes, they bite. I hate mosquitoes, I mean once the summer comes around we stop going outside at night," said Gina Quebedueax.

Despite the heat, Quebedueax spent the Labor Day holiday outside, taking engagement photos at the Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island.

"Once the sun starts setting it definitely gets bad so that's why we're trying to hurry up and catch all of our pictures before it starts," she said.

Quebedueax said she is also concerned about West Nile. So are the experts.

"We're on high alert, and we're doing everything possible. We're spraying seven days a week twice a day, morning and evening and those are the peak time of mosquito activity," said Glenn Stokes with Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc.

Stokes said West Nile Virus is the worst he's seen in years.

"In 2007, there was a small peak, and since that time it's declined every year except this year. And I think the whole problem started off with a warm winter," said Stokes. "And all it takes is one mosquito bite with West Nile to get West Nile."

Statewide testing for West Nile Virus was delayed last week due to Hurricane Isaac, but it is expected to resume this week.

Stokes said if you avoid mosquitoes bites you eliminate the possibility of catching West Nile Virus. He recommends following the Five D's:

Drainage - eliminate any standing water around your home or property.
Deet - use mosquito repellants containing DEET.
Dress - wear long sleeves and pants and wear light colored clothing. (dark colors attract mosquitoes)
Dusk & Dawn - avoid going outside during dusk and dawn, when mosquito activity is at its peak.

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