The Department of Health today issued its first comprehensive report of West Nile virus activity for the year. The report notes there have not been any cases of West Nile fever or a neuroinvasive disease yet to be confirmed. The report does show two cases of West Nile identified in patients, neither of whom showed symptoms of an illness (asymptomatic).

Other findings include:
• Humans: 0 cases of other mosquito-borne illnesses (LaCrosse, Eastern Equine, St. Louis).
• Horses: 5 confirmed cases of equine WNV and 11 cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
• Chickens: 0 sentinel chickens have been confirmed with WNV.
• Dead Birds: Of 21 dead birds tested for WNV, 0 WNV cases.
• Mosquito Pools: 14,628 have been submitted for testing; with WNV being confirmed in pools from 22 parishes.
• Wild Birds: 1,620 wild birds submitted for testing; with 51 positives identified.

The full report can be accessed by clicking here. The Department of Health will update this report on a regular basis throughout the remainder of the year.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through mosquito bites, begins with flu-like symptoms and in extreme cases can lead to brain damage or death.  Even though health officials have yet to identify a West Nile-associated illness, citizens are still urged to take the necessary precautions to limit their exposure to this virus.

Precautions include: Use mosquito repellant, 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 homes and make sure windows and doors have secure screens.

West Nile History in Louisiana
2006 – 202 West Nile cases (91 neuro-invasive) and nine deaths from the disease.
2005 – 188 West Nile cases (118 neuro-invasive), 11 deaths.
2004 – 114 cases of West Nile (84 neuro-invasive), seven deaths.
2003 – 122 cases (101 neuro-invasive), seven deaths.
2002 – 329 cases (204 neuro-invasive), 25 deaths.