The Louisiana Department of Health is urging the state’s residents to take precautions to guard against West Nile Virus after Louisiana has reported the most cases of the virus in the country.
According to the most recent surveillance report, for the week ending on August 11, 2018, Louisiana has had 53 total human cases. The state has also reported two deaths.*
Of the 53 human cases, 9 were asymptomatic, 13 developed West Nile Fever and 31 developed neuroinvasive disease. In comparison, the Department reported 21 West Nile virus cases at this time last year
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease is the most serious type of illness associated with the virus. It infects the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.
West Nile Fever is a milder viral infection 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. Note: Nine blood donors have tested positive for WNV.
Each week, the Department will update and post the Arboviral Report with more detailed information about West Nile virus infections in Louisiana. The reports are available here.
Protect Yourself for Mosquitos
If you will be outside, you should wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for children younger than two months. CDC recommends that you always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label when using repellent.
- Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
- To apply repellent to your face, spray on your hands and then rub on your face.
- Adults should always apply repellent to children.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time.
- Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors for extended periods of time.
- Make sure that your house had tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes.
Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Grounds
Reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around your home, which is where mosquitoes breed.
- Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children's toys or anything that could collect water.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collected enough water for mosquitoes to breed.
- Check and clean roof gutters routinely. They are often overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers
*Explanation of Deaths: Because, the reporting of deaths caused by West Nile virus is not mandated by state law, so there is inconsistently in reporting. Deaths are limited to being included in this report to only those deaths occurring within two weeks for onset. For the preservation of confidentiality, the State does not report details about West Nile deaths (such as date, parish, gender and age).