West Nile virus remains active in south Louisiana

West Nile virus remains active in south Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - At a time when reports of West Nile virus infections usually begin to drop, the latest numbers from Louisiana health officials show the virus is still very active.

The state has 92 total cases in 13 parishes, with 41 of those neuroinvasive. Most of those neuroinvasive cases are in East Baton Rouge Parish. While most patients with West Nile will never know they're sick, a small percent will develop symptoms similar to the flu or the more serious neuroinvasive version, which is when the virus attacks the brain and spinal cord causing inflammation.

"Because it is a virus, we don't have specific treatment," said Dr. Victor Chou, a physician. "We're dependent on the body's natural immune system to try and cure the patient. Sometimes that is difficult if your immune system is already weakened."

According to officials from East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control, the mosquito population is actually down, but a large number of the mosquitoes that remain are testing positive for the virus. With people spending more time outdoors doing fall activities, it's still vital for residents to protect themselves.

"Wearing long sleeves, long pants, insect repellent, things like that," Chou added.

Also, take time to protect your home by dumping out any standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

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