Angola inmate contracts, recovers from facility's first case of West Nile

ANGOLA, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana's most notorious prison has marked what is believed to be its first known case of an inmate contracting the West Nile Virus (WNV).

The inmate, housed at The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, was taken to a hospital after suffering from flu-like symptoms and high fever, according to a relative.

Louisiana Department of Corrections Spokesman Ken Pastorick says the inmate, identified only as a "middle-aged man," has since fully recovered. The case is believed to be the first in the facility's history, he said.

Pastorick says the state will continue to spray the perimeter of state prisons with mosquito killers and will take other preventative measures against WNV, including cutting down on areas of standing water.

"We are taking precautions to protect our offenders, workers, and visitors," said Pastorick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

It can be difficult, the spokesman said, to provide mosquito repellent to offenders because inmates are not allowed to have anything flammable.

"We are exploring options for non-flammable mosquito repellent for offenders," Pastorick said.

MORE FROM THE CDC: You can reduce your risk of being infected with WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness.

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