Louisiana health officials have reported the first human West Nile virus (WNV) cases of 2015 in Region 2 and Region 6. Two of the cases were neuroinvasive WNV, the more serious variety of the disease.
“There is an opportunity for you to get bitten every time you step outside, whether you’re taking a quick walk to the mailbox or spending hours at the ball park,” said State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry. “You need to take the proper steps to protect yourself and your home from mosquitoes every time you go outdoors.”
About 90 percent of all West Nile virus cases are asymptomatic, while about 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. Only a very small number of infected individuals will show the serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease. Residents who are at least 65 years old are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection.
Last year, Louisiana saw 62 cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease in the state.