BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The state Department of Health and Hospitals on Friday confirmed Louisiana’s fourth West Nile virus death this year.
DHH said the death is from Ouachita Parish, the second death in that parish this year. The state’s health department also confirmed four new West Nile virus cases this week, bringing this year’s total to 55 cases.
This week’s new infections include two cases of neuroinvasive disease, one each in Acadia and Rapides parishes, and two cases of West Nile fever, one each in Bossier and Caddo parishes.
People get West Nile when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. About 90 percent of infected people never have any symptoms.
Last year, Louisiana reported 160 neuroinvasive cases of West Nile virus, down from 2002’s high of 204 cases. This year, 14 cases were reported in Ouachita Parish; Lafayette, 9; Rapides, 4; Caldwell, 3; and one each in Acadia, Calcasieu, Livingston and St. Tammany.
Dr. Raoult Ratard, the state epidemiologist, recommends that people going outside for any length of time use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and avoid perfumes and colognes. People should also dispose of anything that might collect water and routinely check and clean roof gutters to keep them from serving as mosquito breeding grounds.
State health department information on West Nile: