Baton Rouge—State health officials today confirmed nine new West Nile virus cases, urging Louisiana residents to continue to protect their health and Fight the Bite. No West Nile deaths occurred this week.
The State is experiencing its most active year for West Nile since 2002, which was the major outbreak year of the virus in Louisiana. So far, there have been 321 cases and 12 deaths from the disease reported this year.
"Even as we get later in the year, rates of West Nile cases have not slowed, and we need to keep up the fight against mosquito bites," said Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "If you're heading outdoors - to tailgate, to visit the pumpkin patch, to go for a walk and enjoy the fall weather - put mosquito repellant on first. Also, we continue having rain statewide, so everyone needs to be vigilant about emptying standing water to decrease mosquito activity."
Humans contract West Nile when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. When people are infected with West Nile, the virus will affect them one of three ways. West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage. The milder viral infection is West Nile fever, in which people experience flu-like symptoms. The majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. These cases are typically detected through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests.
There are four new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, with one case each reported from East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Terrebonne and Tangipahoa parishes. Three of these are newly reported cases, and one is a previously reported case that progressed into neuroinvasive disease.
There are five new West Nile Fever cases, with one case each reported from Beauregard, Bossier, East Baton Rouge, Iberia and Pointe Coupee parishes.
There was one new asymptomatic case reported this week, from Vernon Parish.
DHH issues a weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Report that details cases detected thus far by parish, which is published here.
The most active year for West Nile cases in Louisiana was 2002, when the state experienced 328 cases and 24 deaths. For 10 years, state health officials have conducted robust surveillance year-round, which includes working with doctors, hospitals and health care providers around the state to track human cases and reminding people to be vigilant in avoiding mosquito bites.
Fight the Bite
Local mosquito control partners and abatement districts remain vigilant in keeping the population of infected mosquitos under control, but everyone has a personal responsibility to avoid mosquito bites.
Health officials recommend:
Another effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to drain stagnant water from around homes and property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming:
For more information on West Nile activity in Louisiana and prevention tips, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov/FighttheBite.