The Louisiana Department of Health today reported the first human cases of West Nile virus for this year.
Six cases are reported; at this time last year, seven cases had been reported.
This year’s cases break down like this:
Three cases of neuroinvasive disease: one case each in DeSoto, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes,
*The NID case previously reported to be in Tangipahoa parish has been changed to Livingston Parish. The person resides in a rural area very close to the border between the two parishes.
Two cases of fever: one each in East Baton Rouge and Ouachita parishes.
One asymptomatic case in East Baton Rouge Parish that was diagnosed because of a blood donation.
Here are the explanations of each type of case:
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease – This is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.
West Nile Fever – A milder viral infection in which people experience flu-like symptoms.
Asymptomatic – 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.
Here are some tips from the Department:
Protect Yourself from 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.