BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Louisiana health officials have confirmed the first cases of West Nile virus this year.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said in a news release Friday that the three cases discovered this week include two of neuroinvasive disease: one in Region 2 covering East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, and Iberville and Ascension parishes; and one in Region 6, including Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. A third case, also in Region 6, was asymptomatic.
About 90 percent of all people who test positive are asymptomatic, while about 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. Only a very small number of infected people show the serious symptoms associated with neuroinvasive disease.
Last year, Louisiana saw 62 cases of neuroinvasive disease in the state.
State officials encourage residents to protect themselves to minimize bites from mosquitoes by wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods, eliminate standing water around the home, clean roof gutters routinely and clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used.