BATON ROUGE—State health officials today confirmed six new West Nile cases, urging Louisiana residents to continue to Fight the Bite. No deaths from the disease occurred this week.
The State is experiencing its most active year for West Nile since 2002, which was the major outbreak year of the virus in Louisiana. So far, there have been 344 cases and 13 deaths from the disease reported this year.
"While West Nile infections are beginning to decline, this has been the worst year in a decade for Louisiana," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "We've seen more reported cases now than in 2002. While that is due in part to our stronger surveillance and reporting processes, there continue to be new cases uncovered each week. Therefore, our message remains the same: Protect your health and Fight the Bite."
Humans contract West Nile when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. When people are infected with West Nile, the virus will affect them one of three ways. West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage. The milder viral infection is West Nile fever, 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.
There are two new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, from East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes.
There are four new West Nile Fever cases, from Calcasieu (1), East Baton Rouge (2) and West Baton Rouge (1) parishes.
There were no new asymptomatic cases reported this week.
DHH issued a weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Report that details cases detected thus far by parish, which is published here.
West Nile virus has been present in Louisiana since 2002, when the state experienced 328 cases and 24 deaths. For 10 years, state health officials have conducted robust surveillance year-round, which includes working with doctors, hospitals and health care providers around the state to track human cases and reminding people to be vigilant in avoiding mosquito bites.
Fight the Bite
Local mosquito control partners and abatement districts remain vigilant in keeping the population of infected mosquitos under control, but everyone has a personal responsibility to avoid mosquito bites.
Health officials recommend:
Another effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to drain stagnant water from around homes and property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming:
For more information on West Nile activity in Louisiana and prevention tips, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov/FighttheBite.