The Louisiana Department of Health is providing updated information about West Nile and Zika virus cases in the state. There have been two additional West Nile and three additional Zika cases confirmed.
Weekly Arboviral Reports with more detailed information about West Nile and Zika infections in Louisiana are available here.
The Department of Health has also produced several video public service announcements about mosquito bite prevention. These videos can be found here.
West Nile Virus
The total number of confirmed West Nile virus cases this year in Louisiana now stands at 26. Of those, 16 were neuroinvasive disease, eight were fever and two were asymptomatic. There have not been any West Nile-linked deaths in the state in 2016.
West Nile case counts are compiled by the CDC here.
There have been 31 total confirmed cases of Zika virus in Louisiana. None of these cases were contracted from a local mosquito bite; all are travel-related. Once a travel-related case is identified, public health officials and local mosquito control agencies are notified to take action to minimize the potential for local spread.
National and state Zika virus case counts compiled by the CDC can be found here.
Preventing Mosquito-Borne Diseases
All travelers to areas where Zika virus is active should be aware and take the following steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellent.
- Wear light-colored, long sleeves and pants.
- Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outdoors or in an area without door and window screens.
The same precautions apply at home, and people should also make sure their house is mosquito-proof by ensuring their windows and doors have intact screens. Once a week or after every rainfall, empty standing water from any containers around your home, especially small containers.
Dr. Frank Welch, medical director of community preparedness at the Louisiana Department of Health, stressed Zika virus is most dangerous to pregnant woman and to women who are considering becoming pregnant.
“We continue to remind people that Zika virus is spreading rapidly in many Latin America countries, and the virus can have devastating effect to fetuses. In addition to birth defects such as microcephaly, there is also evidence the virus can cause premature birth or a miscarriage,” Dr. Welch said. “Women who are traveling to these regions, especially those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy, should seriously evaluate the Zika risks associated with travel.”
According to the CDC, other birth defects that have been linked to Zika include eye defects, hearing loss, and impaired growth. The CDC has a list of travel notices for these areas here. Because Zika can spread through sexual activity, pregnant women should have their partners use a condom correctly every time or abstain from sex.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.