Fears Turn From Flu To Mosquitoes And The West Nile Virus

With temperatures rising, people are no longer concerned about the flu but instead focusing on a new concern, mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus that they can carry.

One mosquito in the Baton Rouge area has tested positive with the West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus can make the brain swell, and can also affect horses. The first case was discovered in a horse in 2001 in Louisiana, with an epidemic in 2002.

A West Nile Virus vaccine is available for horses as well as one for with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, another mosquito borne disease. Louisiana veterinarian, Dr Martha Littlefield, encourages horse owners to have the animal vaccinated against both. There is no real cost difference in getting the horse vaccinated for both viruses.

Dr Wayne Kramer, Assistant Professor at LSU, reports that there are very low numbers of the virus detected along with a low population of mosquitoes, due to the weather being dry and cool. Both Doctors agree that this can change very quickly though.

Mosquito traps have been set through the parish and numbers calculated weekly. The Southern House mosquito is the primary carrier of the West Nile Virus.

The female mosquitoes bite both humans and animals, therefore transferring the disease from human to animal and vice-a-versa. Male Mosquitoes feed on plants and nectar.

Female mosquitoes generally transfer the disease from a bird; digest the blood for up to two days, then bite a human transferring the disease [West Nile Virus Symptoms]. No birds tested this year at the LSU have tested positive to the West Nile Virus.