The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has confirmed four new cases of West Nile virus this week, bringing this year’s total number of cases to seven. This week’s new infections include one case of neuroinvasive disease in East Baton Rouge Parish, two West Nile fever cases in Caddo Parish and one asymptomatic case in Livingston Parish. In addition to these new cases, a previously reported asymptomatic case in Livingston Parish has been upgraded to West Nile fever.
About 90 percent of all 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 65 years old and older are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection.
“West Nile virus is a disease that should not be taken lightly,” said Dr. Raoult Ratard, State Epidemiologist. “As long as the mosquitos are out, everyone is at risk. Protection is as simple as wearing mosquito repellant and covering your skin. You can also prevent mosquitoes from reproducing by dumping standing water from containers around your home.”
Last year, Louisiana saw 34 cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease in the state, which is down from 2002’s high of 204 cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease.