More cases of the West Nile virus are continuing to be discovered in Louisiana and surrounding states. Various officials in New Orleans, St. Tammany and West Baton Rouge have confirmed positive results from testings conducted on mosquitoes this month.
West Nile is a type of virus that causes inflammation of the brain and is spread by mosquitoes that become infected after feeding on infected wild birds. Though the virus can be deadly, most infections produce little to no symptoms in people.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, roughly 90 percent of cases are asymptomatic, meaning no symptoms, while 10 percent will develop the West Nile fever. Because most are asymptomatic, the fatality rate is less than one percent. There have not been any reported West Nile deaths this year.
Though officials in the confirmed areas say there is no reason for concern, residents still should take simple precautions such as emptying stagnant water and wearing bug spray.
-Wear mosquito repellent containing no more than 30 percent DEET
-Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time
-Eliminate standing water around your home
-Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots, tires, buckets and any other items that can cause standing water
-Chlorinate pools and hot tubs
-Change bird bath water at least two times a week