BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The number of West Nile cases in Louisiana continue to rise. As of August 22, health officials reported 52 total human cases, including 29 neuroinvasive infections, which can be deadly. While the very young, the very old and those with a weak immune system are especially vulnerable to the virus, everyone is at risk for infection and it only takes one bite.
"We do not want people to become complacent. You do hear about it a lot, but West Nile Virus is serious," said Dr. Marilyn M. Reynaud, Regional Administrator Medical Director for DHH.
Reynaud explains that protecting yourself starts with using insect repellent- something containing at least 30 percent deet. She also recommends wearing long sleeves and long pants if you plan on being outside for a long time, in order to minimize the amount of exposed skin.
It's also important to examine your yard where mosquitoes breed and spread. Reynaud says that keeping grass mowed limits mosquito breeding grounds.
"Remember, it does not take much water for mosquitoes to breed," said Reynaud.
Even a container as small as a bottle cap can hold enough water for mosquitoes to breed, which is why Also, make sure your screens, windows and doors are properly sealed in order to keep mosquitoes from flying into your home.
If there are additional concerns about mosquitoes, a parish mosquito abatement program, where available, can assess properties and spray repellent.