A Texas mosquito expert is anticipating another — and earlier — round of West Nile virus for the state. West Nile encephalitis activity has already picked up in Louisiana with the virus reported in birds throughout the state and in the mosquito population around Baton Rouge, said Dr. Jim Olson, entomologist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

“With that being an indication, we could be in for another year of West Nile virus activity,” in Texas, Olson said.

“This is probably one of the earliest records of a mosquito-borne virus (becoming active) in the South.” Normally, activity begins in May or June, he said.

In 2002 — the first year West Nile was reported in Texas — 202 laboratory-positive human cases and 13 deaths in the state were attributed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC says West Nile virus is commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. It is closely related to the St. Louis encephalitis virus.

Further information is available from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/