First case of West Nile in La. reported
The first Louisiana case of West Nile virus for 2010 has been confirmed.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reports the first case was confirmed July 14 in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The case identified this week was discovered in an asymptomatic individual. West Nile infections are characterized three ways: neuroinvasive, West Nile fever and asymptomatic.
Asymptomatic individuals were never ill. West Nile is only discovered in an individual's blood when blood work was done for some other reason than illness, like donation. A neuroinvasive illness is severe and typical results in a swelling of the brain or spinal cord. West Nile Fever is less severe, with most people only suffering mild, flu-like symptoms.
DHH says about 90 percent of all cases are asymptomatic, while about 10 percent develop into West Nile fever. Only a very small number of infected individuals show serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease.
The first human cases are usually reported around mid-July each year. While everyone is at risk and should protect themselves, DHH says people 65 years of age or older should take extra precaution due to a higher risk for complications.
DHH suggests the following precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:
• If you will be outside, you should wear a mosquito repellent containing 20 - 30 percent DEET for adults and no more than 10 percent for children.
• 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.