First human West Nile virus cases reported in Louisiana

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The West Nile virus has made its way to Louisiana with six infections found in 3 separate parishes. 

The three parishes where cases of the West Nile virus were found are DeSoto, St. Tammany and Livingston.

Along with the six West Nile virus cases, Louisiana Department of Health reported one case of fever in East Baton Rouge Parish and one in Ouachita Parish. 

At this time last year, Louisiana had seven reported cases of the West Nile Virus. 

In East Baton Rouge Parish LDOH also found one asymptomatic case. 

The Louisiana Department of Health said the West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease “is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord.”

The disease is so serious that it can lead to “death, paralysis and brain damage,” according to LDOH. 

The Louisiana Department of Health provided this information about other forms of the West Nile Virus: 

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.

If you would like to learn more about the West Nile Virus, visit Community and Preventative Health

LDOH provided suggestions on how to deal with the West Nile Virus this summer: 

Protect Yourself for Mosquitos

  • 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

  • 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.

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