BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — 2012 was a bad year for West Nile virus here in Louisiana with close to 400 cases total. And the contributing factors are almost as numerous as the cases themselves.
"People talked about drought. People talked about really hot summers. Things like this mild winters. These are all great ideas and they need investigation," says Christopher Mores of the LSU Vet School.
And that's where researcher Jennifer Giovanni comes in. She's now spending her days in Livingston Parish getting blood samples and surveying residents, trying and find out what officials can do to keep people safe and what factors are contributing to the higher number here.
"People are concerned about West Nile virus and throughout the parish, throughout Louisiana mosquitoes are ever present. So, I hear a lot of stories about battling the mosquitoes in the summer and particularly during the hurricane when there are losses of power,” says Jennifer Giovanni of the LSU Vet School.
But it looks like the way people in Louisiana often chose to relax could be multiplying the opportunity for exposure to West Nile.
"In Louisiana they are porch-sitting; being outside is a very common thing. I would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't say yes i sit outside"
Giovanni plans to collect samples from around 500 people in Livingston Parish over the next couple months and have results ready by the end of the summer.