An estimated 30,000 Haitians and several thousand people across
the border in the Dominican Republic are infected each year with
the mosquito-borne illness. Hispaniola is malaria's last Caribbean
ATLANTA -- Spend just a few minutes outside and you'll quickly find out the mosquitoes are already here.
Georgia Health Department entomologist Rosmarie Kelly says she started counting the bugs in late April; they usually begin appearing in June.
"We had a very mild winter, essentially no winter, very early spring and wet weather, so we're seeing mosquitoes earlier than we normally see them," Kelly said.
The health department identifies two types of mosquitoes prevalent in Atlanta. The tiger mosquito bites during the day and is more of a nuisance because their bites can be felt.
The southern house mosquito bites around dawn and dusk and is known for carrying the West Nile virus. Kelly said their bites generally go undetected.
"It's a stealth biter, so people don't notice that they're being bitten," she said.
"That's worrisome; if they don't notice they're being bitten, they tend not to put on mosquito repellant, then they're at risk for West Nile virus."
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, near trash or in piles of leaves or brush. Raking leaves and removing outside containers will help, but Kelly said at this rate, mosquitoes are already on track to have a large showing this year.
"If the weather stays like this, then we're going to have a West Nile virus problem," she said.
She encourages everyone to wear repellant and also suggests calling a professional to spray your yard.