he Louisiana Department of Health is providing updated information about West Nile and Zika virus cases in the state. There have been 10 additional West Nile and two additional Zika cases confirmed.
West Nile Virus
The total number of confirmed West Nile virus cases this year in Louisiana now stands at 24. Of those, 13 were neuroinvasive disease, nine were fever and two were asymptomatic. There have not been any West Nile-linked deaths in the state in 2016.
West Nile case counts are compiled by the CDC here.
There have been 28 total confirmed cases of Zika virus in Louisiana. None of these cases were contracted from a local mosquito bite; all are travel-related. Once a travel-related case is identified, public health officials and local mosquito control agencies are notified to take action to minimize the potential for local spread.
National and state Zika virus case counts compiled by the CDC can be found here.
Preventing Mosquito-Borne Diseases
All travelers to areas where Zika virus is active should be aware and take the following steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
• Use an EPA-approved insect repellent.
• Wear light-colored, long sleeves and pants.
• Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outdoors or in an area without door and window screens.
The same precautions apply at home, and people should also make sure their house is mosquito-proof by ensuring their windows and doors have intact screens. Once a week or after every rainfall, empty standing water from any containers around your home, especially small containers.
“Mosquitoes remain active through late fall and even during the winter, and can continue to spread disease,” said Kyle Moppert, State Medical Entomologist. “It’s important to protect yourself, your family, and even your neighbors by remaining attentive to removing standing water from your yard as well as other protective measures. This is especially important with so much of the state experiencing daily afternoon showers that leave water standing in containers that might have recently been emptied. Each week when you take out your trash, walk around your yard and empty any containers that hold standing water.”
Zika virus is of greatest threat to pregnant women, as their child may be at risk for certain severe birth defects as a result of infection. Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should avoid travel to areas with Zika transmission. The CDC has a list of travel notices for these areas here. Because Zika can spread through sexual activity, pregnant women should have their partners use a condom correctly every time or abstain from sex.