Swatting Back at West Nile

July 25, 2006
Reported by Rhonda Kitchens

"This year has been an extremely busy year for mosquitos," says Calcasieu Director of Mosquito Control, Lucas Terracina, "the hurricane, the effects from the hurricane, have really opened up a lot of landscape to active breeding especially in the marshes to the south."

That's where Terracina says they're already seeing signs of trouble.

"They breed a lot in the underground drainage systems that are in the old city areas and also the septic ditches where the over flow from the septic tanks go breeds a particular mosquito that really amplifies the virus. We've also had a positive collection or two from the Bell City, Hayes area, so its probably out throughout the whole parish, its just sometimes its a little more difficult because maybe there aren't as many infected mosquitos in an area as the other."

But all it takes is one to spread the west nile virus and the odds get greater each day.

"Our recent findings of positive mosquito pools verifies the fact that its getting active."

11 positive pools have been identified in the last two weeks and Terracina says those numbers should begin to rise as more rain falls. "Not only the rains, but with that system in the gulf tides are going to come into the marshes so people can expect populations to begin increasing possibly over the weekend but in particular next week."

Mosquito control is stepping up operations, but Terracina says there are things you can do, as well.

"If you're going to be out doors at the peak times of mosquito activity which are normally dawn and dusk to evening hours, don't go out with shorts and have a lot of your skin exposed."

Loose fitting and light colored clothes can also make a difference, as well as trading in mosquito attracting perfume for a good bottle of repellant.

"Its nothing to panic about," says Terracina, "its just something we're going to have to live with from year to year now."