The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has confirmed three
new cases of West Nile virus this week, the first cases of 2015. This
week's new infections include two cases of neuroinvasive disease,
one in DHH Region 2 and one in Region 6. The third case, also in Region
6 was asymptomatic.
About 90 percent of all West Nile virus 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 at least 65 years old are at higher risk for
complications, but everyone is at risk for infection.
"There is an opportunity for you to get bitten every time you step
outside, whether you’re taking a quick walk to the mailbox or spending
hours at the ball park," said State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry.
"You need to take the proper steps to protect yourself and your home
from mosquitoes every time you go outdoors.”
Last year, Louisiana saw 62 cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease
in the state. DHH has been tracking West Nile Virus for more than a decade,
and statistics about its occurrence in Louisiana can be found online at
- If you will be outside, you should wear a mosquito repellent containing
DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents
should contain no more than 30% DEET when used on children. Insect repellents
also are not recommended for children younger than 2 months. CDC recommends
that you always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label
when using repellent.
- 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 has tight-fitting windows and doors, and that
all screens are free of holes.
Protecting Your Home
- Reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around your
home, which is where mosquitoes breed.
- 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
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. Drainage holes
that are located on the container sides collect 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.
Anyone traveling abroad should also take these same precautions to protect
themselves from mosquitoes in other countries. Mosquitoes in other parts
of the world, including the Caribbean, South America, Asia, Africa and
Europe, might infect you with chikungunya or dengue fever. For more information
about these diseases, visit the CDC's website by
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and
promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and
rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit
www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow
Twitter account and