Baton Rouge --- Additional West Nile cases from Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Orleans, Richland, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes raise the state’s West Nile total to 60 human cases. No additional deaths associated with the virus have occurred. Caddo and St. Tammany parishes reported two new cases each in the updated case numbers, and the other four parishes each reported one new case.
Although Louisiana’s numbers continue to climb, they remain lower than at this time last year, when the state had reported 238 West Nile infections and 11 deaths as of Sept. 12, 2002. The numbers here also are lower than numbers in other states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest figures. Nationwide, there are 3,541 West Nile cases, with Colorado (1,214 cases), South Dakota (548 cases) and Nebraska (518 cases) reporting the highest numbers.
In Louisiana, the outbreak has centered in the Caddo/Bossier area. The two parishes have 37of the state’s 60 cases, with 32 in Caddo Parish alone. Human West Nile virus cases have been detected in 16 parishes statewide, and dead birds infected with the virus have been found in 46 of the state’s 64 parishes. State health officials earlier confirmed that a 73-year-old man from Shreveport died of West Nile meningitis, which is the only fatality this year.
To lessen your risk of contracting West Nile virus, 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 West Nile or to receive updated information about tracking and surveillance of the virus, please visit the Office of Public Health Web site,www.FighttheBiteLouisiana.com.