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Soggy spring might mean less West Nile Virus in STL

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Recent heavy rains the St. Louis area could help reduce the number of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus this summer.

While health officials reported evidence of West Nile virus two months earlier than usual this year, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be a bad summer for the mosquito-borne disease.

Karen Yates, with the Missouri Department of Health, says the area has benefited from recent storms with a lot rain, "and that's a good thing because what that can do is flush out the ditches where larvae may be developing and that can kind of put a cramp in the mosquito's style."

Yates says most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will never show any symptoms of West Nile or have any problems. Those most at risk of contracting a serious case of the virus are those over the age of 60 with compromised immune systems.

The disease has been discovered in dead birds in Jefferson County, St. Charles County and the city of St. Louis. The first case was found in April, two months earlier than ever before.