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Viral mosquitos found in St. John

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 21, 1998

LAPLACE – Encephalitis-bearing mosquitos have been discovered in St. John the Baptist Parish, according to Chief Administrator Pat McTopy.

However, more spraying should keep the problem down.

Meanwhile, McTopy is urging residents to wear mosquito repellant, especially at the hours of dawn and dusk, when mosquitos are most active.

Eight cases of the brain-damaging disease were discovered in Jefferson Parish, prompting accelerated testing and spraying by Mosquito Control Inc.

“There’s no need for panic,” McTopy continued.

Two types of mosquito tests are held locally, McTopy explained. One is asentinel chicken flock test, where pens of caged chickens are tested routinely for the presence of the encephalitis virus, blood being drawn every two to four weeks and screened.

That test has yet to turn up the virus-bearing mosquitos.

However, captured mosquitos in the McReine Road area have turned up, prompting the public precautionary announcement.

The samples were collected Aug. 18, but test results only came back thisweek. Meanwhile spraying and monitoring have been stepped up. McTopysaid the drought earlier this summer has helped keep mosquito populations down and no additional samples have yet turned up the virus.

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