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Mosquitoes carrying West Nile confirmed in several local parishes

St. John, Tangipahoa, and St. Tammany parishes have also had positive tests.

The City of New Orleans confirmed West Nile Virus was found in at least two mosquitoes collected last week. St. John, Tangipahoa, and St. Tammany parishes have also had positive tests. So should we be concerned?

They're small, annoying and they bite. In some cases, mosquitoes can be a problem.

"I think we need to be concerned every year," said Dr. Fred Lopez with LSU Health Infectious Diseases. "Particularly in these months because most infections will be during the summer months."

"Once the mosquitoes are infected the possibility of transmission to humans becomes a reality," said Lopez.

About 80 percent of people who get the virus don't even know it. However, being older and having certain ailments can increase its seriousness.

"20 percent of humans who get infected have what's called West Nile Fever and that's really a flu-like syndrome," Lopez said. "And then less than 1 percent of the cases are the really severe presentations. Those patients can develop really, really high fevers, severe headaches, seizures, they can get confused and develop paralysis."

Finding West Nile locally shouldn't create panic. Instead Terminix Entomologist, Joe Martin, says it's a reminder to be vigilant.

"Do you have a cup on your patio that got filled with water?" Martin asked. "Do you have a tire? Even a bottle cap from a water bottle collects water that could be a breeding ground for a mosquito."

Dumping standing water, citronella candles, wearing long sleeves and pants and bug spray are all helpful measures. Lopez says also an hour before to an hour after dusk and dawn are prime mosquito times and should be avoided.

If you can't wait for the parish you're in to spray, doing it yourself is also an option.

"Probably the most effective way to kill the mosquitoes would be in the evening or when you're seeing them the most in your yard," said Martin. "But make sure no one is out there and follow the labels if you do use a product on your own."

All easy fixes to an obnoxious problem. And while it wont get rid of mosquitoes completely, it can help make this summer a worry-free one.

"Every year this is a reality being in Louisiana. These infections will arise in mosquitoes and be transmitted to humans," said Lopez.

There's no vaccine for West Nile Virus, also it's assumed once you get the virus you can't get it again. If you'd like a professional to come spray your yard, many companies in the area offer treatment as well.

The city sent Eyewitness News the following statement:

"The Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Department (NOMTCB) received a report on Friday (June 15th) that West Nile virus (WNV) had been detected in at least two mosquitoes collected last week, in New Orleans. The NOMTCB responded by treating the area by truck and plans additional treatments this week as weather permits. Residents can call 311 or email mosquitocontrol@nola.gov to report mosquito concerns. This is a good time to remind viewers: the life cycle of mosquitoes can be completed within a 7-day period, making it important for residents to evaluate yards on a weekly basis and eliminate standing water. Remove trash and clutter, including discarded tires, buckets, tarps and any other items that could collect water. Empty containers and change water weekly in containers that cannot be removed, such as bird baths, pet dishes, and kiddie pools. Make sure swimming pools and fountains are operational and circulating."

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