Flood victims bracing for mosquito outbreak

Paul Murphy talks to experts who say after the recent flooding, the mosquito population is expected to increase, causing health concerns.

NEW ORLEANS -- Flood waters across Louisiana are now giving way to what experts predict could be a flood of mosquitoes.

"We expect with the flooding, some of those mosquitoes will probably increase in population fairly quickly because there's water in areas it wouldn't have otherwise and there's eggs hatching out," Associate Professor Dawn Wesson from Tulane University's School of Tropical Medicine said.

Other experts agree.

"They lay their eggs in the ground when it's dry," said Zack Lemann, Chief Entomologist at the Audubon Insectarium. "When a lot of rain happens and there's standing water there's a boom in those species."

According to Wesson, most of the mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus, breed in containers.

"There's a risk, but it's very low right now," Wesson said. "We've seen very few cases imported to the states. so far. It takes an imported case to set off the transmission."

However, mosquitoes that tend to exploit flood situations can transmit other mosquito-borne diseases.

"People may notice a bigger mosquito presence," Wesson said. "It may be pest species, but may also be some of these that can potentially transmit West Nile."

The flood variety mosquitoes can hatch very quickly.

"Many species will go from egg to adult in seven days," Lemann said. "It's the adults that we're worried about because that's the one that's going to bite us."

Mosquito experts say there are things everyone can and should do to help fight the bite.

"The simple things to do is to avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active which is dusk and dawn and take measures to protect your own body with long-sleeve shirts and repellant," Lemann said.

Containers of standing water or places where water can pool should also be taken care of.

"Empty those containers or treat the larger containers if they don't want to empty them," Wesson said.
 

The experts added that when the temperatures start to warm up, that's when the major influx of mosquitoes appears in the New Orleans area.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment