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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

JEFFERSON, La. -- Jefferson Parish officials are now going door to door, warning people when mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus have been detected in their neighborhoods.

So far there have been 53 cases of encephalitis caused by the virus diagnosed in Louisiana, with three cases found in Jefferson Parish.

JP Mosquito Control agents have found mosquitoes carrying the virus at 40 locations throughout the parish.

'We've had quite a bit of activity in West Nile in the mosquitoes this year in comparison to the last three to five years,' said Steve Pavlovich from Mosquito Control Services.

Mosquito control workers spent part of Tuesday handing out warning flyers near Lafreniere Park in Metairie.

One mom who brought her two boys to the park said West Nile is a huge concern.

'I wouldn't want anything to happen to my kids of course, so we may be staying inside a lot more than we anticipated,' said Leah Arellano. 'I just bought citronella candle sticks just to put by the barbecue pit, so I can grill at night.'

Metairie Pediatrician Dr. Michael Wasserman said the very old and very young are most at risk of encephalitis.

'Certainly children under the age of 5 or even more under the age of 2 years, these are the people who tend to have more complications from infections from West Nile Virus.'

Wasserman also said the West Nile isn't the only thing to worry about when you get a mosquito bite.

'Simply having the puncture wound of the skin also sets you up for secondary Staphylococcus infection, which is a bacterium,' he said. 'You want to keep the skin clean, scrubbing it with soap and water, maybe using some betadine, the brown liquid cleanser you can buy off the shelve.'

The next three months are peak season for mosquitoes in south Louisiana. Jefferson Parish is now stepping up its efforts to control the flying pests.

'We're currently spraying seven days a week, both with the trucks as well as some of the daytime efforts such as spraying the ditches and out in the woods,' said Pavlovich.

Mosquito Control is asking neighbors to also help fight the bite by draining anything in their yards that can hold water.

'Flush those things such as bird baths, flower pots that may be holding water in the dish as well as clogged gutters and so forth,' said Pavlovich.

Wasserman said, 'Don't go at dawn, Don't go at dusk because that's when mosquitoes are out flying the most, looking for victims. Wear long sleeves. I know that's uncomfortable in our weather. But, that's something you want to do. Certainly above age 6 months, I do recommend the use of DEET and medication to prevent the mosquito bites.'

The experts also recommend you repair any torn window screens, and if you have a pool, keep it clean.

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