The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting six additional cases of West Nile virus in the state. There are no additional reported cases of Zika virus for this week. This brings the total West Nile virus cases to 36, with the Zika virus count remaining at 34 cases in 2016.
Of the West Nile virus cases, three were asymptomatic; 12 were fever cases, a mild illness; and 21 were neuroinvasive disease, a severe illness that can lead to brain damage and death. Additionally, the department has learned of the first death related to West Nile virus in 2016. In order to protect patient privacy, the Louisiana Department of Health does not report West Nile deaths by parish.
There are no new cases of Zika virus in Louisiana. The total remains at 34 cases, all travel-related. Residents are urged to check their travel plans to see if there is local Zika transmission, which means they could get Zika from a local mosquito, in the areas they are visiting. The CDC has a list of travel notices for these areas here.
Zika virus is of greatest threat to pregnant women, as their child may be at risk for certain severe birth defects as a result of infection. Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should avoid travel to areas with Zika transmission. Because Zika can spread through sexual activity, pregnant women should have their partners use a condom correctly every time or abstain from sex if their partner has traveled to an area of the world with Zika transmission.
National and state Zika virus case counts compiled by the CDC can be found here.
Preventing Mosquito-Borne Diseases
All travelers to areas where Zika virus is active should be aware and take the following steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellent.
- Wear light-colored, long sleeves and pants.
- Sleep under a mosquito net if you are outdoors or in an area without door and window screens.
The same precautions apply at home, and people should also make sure their house is mosquito-proof by ensuring their windows and doors have intact screens. Once a week or after every rainfall, empty standing water from any containers around your home, especially small containers.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.