Baton Rouge --- East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Mary, Tangipahoa, Webster and West Carroll parishes all reported new human cases of West Nile this week, which brings the 2003 total to 75 human infections in 20 parishes statewide.
Although much of this year’s outbreak has centered in the Caddo and Bossier parishes area, no new cases were reported from either of those areas this week.
“It is encouraging to see virus activity slowing down in the Caddo Parish area and to note that all new cases are sporadic, with no indication of a big outbreak spreading to another parish,” said Secretary David W. Hood. “Hopefully, these are signs that mosquito activity is slowing and we will start seeing fewer cases of West Nile in the coming weeks.”
Tangipahoa and West Carroll parishes each reported two new West Nile cases and the other parishes each reported one. No new cases of St. Louis encephalitis or Eastern Equine encephalitis were reported this week.
Nationwide, 5,861 cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year. The states with the highest occurrences of West Nile are Colorado (1,991 cases), Nebraska (999 cases) and South Dakota (840 cases). Louisiana’s case count not only is small compared to other states, it is lower than at this time last year. At the beginning of October 2002, Louisiana had seen 293 cases of West Nile virus and 14 deaths related to the disease.
To lessen your risk of contracting West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis, apply mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves and long pants and avoid wearing perfumes or colognes when outside for prolonged periods of time. Also, remove any standing water from around your home and make sure your windows and doors have secure screens.
For more information on how to take precautions against contracting a mosquito-borne disease or to receive updated information about tracking and surveillance of the virus, please visit the Office of Public Health Web site, www.FighttheBiteLouisiana.com.