BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Department of Health today reported the first human cases of West Nile virus for this year.
Two of the most serious cases –West Nile neuroinvasive disease — were found in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.
The department lists three classifications of West Nile, which is transmitted through mosquitoes:
West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease – This is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.
West Nile Fever – A milder viral infection in which people experience flu-like symptoms.
Asymptomatic – The majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. These cases are typically detected through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests.
Here’s the breakdown of West Nile Virus discoveries in Louisiana:
- Two cases of fever: one each in East Baton Rouge and Ouachita parishes, and
- One asymptomatic case in East Baton Rouge Parish that was diagnosed because of a blood donation.
- Three cases of neuroinvasive disease: one case each in DeSoto, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes,
The Department of Health offered the following tips on how to protect your self from West Nile:
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 two 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 had tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes