The Kentucky Department for Public Health has confirmed West Nile virus in five Louisville residents.  Four of the West Nile cases were neuroinvasive, a serious form of the disease in which the virus attacks the brain or the tissues lining the brain and spinal cord leading to encephalitis or meningitis.  There have been no deaths from West Nile this year.

Louisville map Image/ U.S. federal government
Louisville map
Image/ U.S. federal government

“We urge people to protect themselves against West Nile,” said Dr Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.  You should wear insect repellant and dress in long sleeves and pants if going outside during dusk and dawn.”

“The massive amounts of rain we have seen over the last several days are causing mosquito populations to multiply and we know that West Nile infected mosquitoes are present throughout the community,” said Dr. Moyer.

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In most instances, people infected with West Nile virus either show no symptoms or relatively mild symptoms.  However, less than one percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis.  Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.