15 new cases of West Nile Virus uncovered in Louisiana - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

15 new cases of West Nile Virus uncovered in Louisiana

Updated:

Baton Rouge, La. - State health officials say more than a dozen new patients contracted the West Nile Virus this week, and one person has died of the disease.

"Not only do we continue to find more cases, this week, we have three parishes reporting their first human cases of West Nile for the year," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "Clearly, this virus remains a threat, and it's important to protect your health and avoid mosquito bites even as the weather gets colder and drier."

West Nile is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes infected with the virus.

The more serious form of the disease are neuroinvasive cases. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says six patients were diagnosed with it in Jefferson (1), Orleans (2), Tangipahoa (1) and Rapides (2) parishes.

None of this week's West Nile fever cases were reported in the Metro New Orleans area. State health officials say no new asymptomatic cases were reported this week.

So far this year, Louisiana has seen 371 West Nile cases, 152 of those were diagnosed as the more serious neuroinvasive type. 16 people have died of the disease in 2012.

Below are some tips health officials recommend to prevent the disease from spreading:

· 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.

· People should be especially vigilant if they are outside at dawn and dusk. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile are most active at that time. But, people should take precautions against mosquitoes if they are outside at any time of day.

· 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.

Another effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to drain stagnant water from around homes and property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming:

· Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools or buckets that could collect water.

· 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.

· Clean clogged roof gutters yearly. 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. An unattended swimming pool 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.

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