West Nile death has experts pushing mosquito prevention

They're are sometimes easy to forget, but the summer temperatures and daily showers have some many buzzing about mosquitoes.

"We weren't thinking about mosquitoes today, but we probably should have," laughs Janet Crouse. Crouse was visiting Audubon Park from Baton Rouge. "After heavy rains, you definitely notice there will be more."

Mosquitoes are out and biting. The bugs aren't just a pain, they can also transmit diseases like Encephalitis and the West Nile Virus. In Louisiana, several people have already contracted West Nile, and state health officials announced a Shreveport woman was the first to die from the virus Friday.

Dr. Claudia Riegel is the director of the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board. She says, in our area, the Southern House Mosquito is the breed that transmits West Nile.

"In our area, that is our number of mosquito that we're concerned with," said Riegel. "it's very important for people to turn over all water containers."

Experts say prevention is the most important. That particular mosquito breed is active at night.

"Nine, ten o'clock is when they're host seeking," said Riegel. "Females are looking for a blood meal and that's when it's most concerning. Make sure you're wearing repellent or better yet, avoid that time frame if you can."

The Mosquito and Termite Board says they've found one mosquito pool that tested positive for West Nile, but so far, no human cases have been reported in New Orleans. West Nile has been on the decline in Louisiana. Last year, the state reported 34 severe cases - compare that to 2002 when more than 200 were reported.

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