LSU AgCenter: Now is prime time for mosquitoes - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

LSU AgCenter: Now is prime time for mosquitoes

Source: LSU AgCenter Source: LSU AgCenter
BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) -

Officials with the LSU AgCenter are warning it is prime time for mosquitoes in Southwest Louisiana.


“July through September is when mosquitoes tend to be most active in the state,” said LSU AgCenter Entomologist Kristen Healey. 


But with wild temperatures most of the year and more than 60 species of mosquitoes living in Louisiana, Healey said you can expect to get bitten just about 

anytime of the year. 


With West Nile Virus recently being reported in Caddo Parish, it is important to take precautions to reduced the chances of being bitten.

Healey said that West Nile has been present in the state for for about 12 years, and isn't going anywhere.


Mosquitoes can also transmit Eastern Equine encephalitis. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is rare among humans with only 

a handful of cases being reported each year in the us. According to the CDC website, most people who contract EEEV have no symptoms. However, in severe cases, an inflammation of the brain, symptoms begin with a sudden headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.


Healey said Chikungunya, which can also be transmitted by mosquitoes, is new to the U.S. this year and is now being tracked. 


“Chikungunya has been common in Asia and Africa for more than 60 years,” she said. “This past December, it showed up in the Caribbean for the first time.

And it was recently found in Miami and Palm Beach counties in Florida.”


Healey also said that about 20 cases of the disease are normally treated in the country from people who traveled to Asia of Africa and bring it back. 


Healey said there have been over 250,000 cases of Chikungunya in the Caribbean and 250 cases in the U.S. this year so far. That's a 10-fold increase 

over past years. 


“We believe that this year someone returned with enough of the virus in their body for a mosquito to transmit it,” Healy said.


She said it is very unlikely for the disease to be fatal, but it is possible, especially in the elderly, those who are seriously ill and 

newborns of infected mothers. 


“There is no antivirus available for Chikungunya,” Healey said. “Really all that we can do right now is provide some relief for the symptoms.”


About 80 percent of those infected will show symptoms similar to the flu, accompanied by excruciating joint pain that can last anywhere from six months to a year. 


Southwest Louisiana has a "really good" mosquito abatement program, but they are asking the public to do their part to help control mosquitoes by 

eliminating their breeding grounds.


LSU AgCenter entomologist Tim Schowalter said that destroying mosquito breeding grounds will help to reduce their numbers and decrease the spread 

of diseases. 


“Female mosquitoes require standing water to lay their eggs, and if we can deny this, there is a better chance of keeping their numbers low,” 

Schowalter said.


Mosquitoes normally go through their breeding breeding cycle in about two weeks, and then become the biting pest we love to hate.


“Other things we can do to lessen our chances of being bitten are to avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and 

double layers wouldn’t hurt,” Healey said. “Mosquitoes are attracted to our body odor, so wearing light colors lessens the amount of heat we produce, 

therefore decreasing body odor.”


Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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