NEW ORLEANS – Three cases of West Nile Virus, including two cases in southeast Louisiana, have been reported, state health officials say. The cases are the first human cases of the virus in Louisiana in 2018.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, individual cases of the of neuroinvasive disease were reported in St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and DeSoto parishes. Health officials say the neuroinvaisve disease is the most serious type and can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.
“All St. Tammany Parish residents need to do their part in preventing other cases of the West Nile Virus by taking the necessary steps to reduce the risk of mosquito breeding and bites,” Pat Brister, St. Tammany parish president, said. “The St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District personnel do a wonderful job, but we each have a responsibility to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”
Two cases of West Nile Fever have been reported in East Baton Rouge and Ouachita parishes. The fever is a milder infection that causes flu-like symptoms.
An asymptomatic case was also reported in East Baton Rouge Parish. That case showed no symptoms, but was diagnosed through a blood donation.
The department said there were seven reported West Nile virus cases reported by this time last year. Health officials released the following tips to protect yourself from mosquitos.
Health officials released the following tips to protect yourself from mosquitos and remove their breeding grounds:
Protect Yourself From Mosquitos:
- Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
- to apply repellent to your face, spray on your hands and then rub on your face.
- Adults should always apply repellent to children.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time.
- Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors for extended periods of time.
- Make sure that your house had tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes.
Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Grounds:
- Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children's toys or anything that could collect water.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collected enough water for mosquitoes to breed.
- Check and clean roof gutters routinely. They are often overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.