The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) confirmed 15 new cases of West Nile virus, of which five were neuroinvasive disease infections, bringing this year’s total to 118 reported infections. There were no new deaths reported this week.
This week’s new infections include five neuroinvasive disease cases in Ascension (1), Bossier (1), East Baton Rouge Parish (1), Ouachita (1) and Pointe Coupee (1) parishes. There were nine new cases of West Nile fever; these cases were in Caddo (3), East Baton Rouge (5) and LaFourche (1) parishes, and one new asymptomatic case in East Baton Rouge (1) parish.
“During the fall, thousands of Louisiana residents head outside for athletic events, especially college football games. Before hitting the field or heading to a tailgate, we encourage residents to use mosquito repellent, and to wear long sleeves and pants,” said DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard. “The best way to fight the bite is by being proactive. Keep mosquito repellent in your car or bag so that you have it with you when you need it most.”
West Nile virus is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause febrile illness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).
It was first detected in North America in 1999, and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada.
Most people get infected with West Nile virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals.
In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding, according to the CDC.
As of September 23, a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. Overall, 979 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 544 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 435 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page