West Nile threat remains despite cooler weather - KLFY News 10

West Nile threat remains despite cooler weather

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Even though fall is just beginning, West Nile virus is still creating some buzz. Over the last few weeks, five people from Lafayette Parish have contracted the most serious form of the virus—the kind which affects the brain. One person from St. Martin Parish was infected.

"In particular, we've had people with neuro-invasive disease, which is an increased number for us. We usually see very few cases," said Dr. Tina Stefanski with the Office of Public Health.

She says although Lafayette Parish has seen an uptick, statewide the number has declined.  And although it might not be as hot outside, it doesn't mean the annoying pests are taking a break.

"Even though the weather seems to be getting a little bit cooler, we need to be aware that mosquitos are still active, especially with the recent rain we've been having," said Stefanski.

And it's standing water in buckets, puddles, pools, and birdfeeders that fuels the mosquito problem. It's especially important after a rainstorm to dump the water where mosquitos may be breeding.

Stefanski says neuro-invasive disease is not just affecting the elderly as it's commonly thought.

There are just as many cases statewide in the 15-to 29-year-old bracket. So it's important to cover up, spray repellent, and protect the skin.

"Now kids are participating in after school activities, sports, people are hunting. There are a lot of hunters in this area," said Stefanski.

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