Mosquito population explodes
BATON ROUGE- Standing water left behind by last weeks rain is causing the mosquito population to explode. The major concern is West Nile Virus. So parishes with mosquito control workers are out in force this week.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the virus shows no symptoms in 90% of infected individuals. The remaining 10% can come down with West Nile Fever, a condition with flu like symptoms. In rare cases, individuals will contract a serious neuroinvasive disease that can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.
"It can take years to recover from," said Randy Vaeth, assistant director at the East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control, "there's memory loss, there's all kinds of loss of motor functions." Vaeth said last year there were 20 cases of the West Nile neuroinvasive disease in EBR Parish.
To protect against the virus, Vaeth recommends people use bug spray and wear pants and long sleeves as much as possible. Most importantly, he says residents need to inspect their homes and lawns for any standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
EBR Parish Mosquito Control offers free home inspections. Workers check the homes for standing water and then spray the area with insecticide if necessary. It usually takes workers a day to respond to an inspection request.
In Ascension Parish, home inspections are up 30% from the same time last year. West Baton Rouge Parish is also operating trucks spraying for mosquitoes.
The exception is Livingston Parish where voters rejected a tax to pay for the program.