Health officials report human West Nile Virus cases in Livingston, East Baton Rouge parishes

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The latest sample of mosquitoes tested last week returned results showing East Baton Rouge Parish with 21 positive samples for the West Nile Virus (WNV), with West Baton Rouge Parish at 12, St. Tammany Parish with 11, Ouachita Parish at 7, Caddo Parish with 4, Orleans Parish with 3, St. Martin Parish with 2 and Tangipahoa Parish with 1.

"Since 2001, we've had cases every year and we're at that point of the year where we'll have cases for the next month and a half or two months," said Kyle Moppert with the Louisiana Deptartment of Health and Hospitals.

Moppert says the first cases of WNV in humans showed up in July of 2017. So far, Livingston Parish has two cases, East Baton Rouge Parish has one, and some parishes in north Louisiana have also had human cases.

These cases break down into three categories. Eighty percent of people who get WNV never know because they have no symptoms. The other 20 percent will get what's called West Nile Fever.

"West Nile Fever, you get congested, headaches, a rash, a summer time flu with a rash," said Moppert.

Less than 0.05 percent of people will get the worst possible case, neuroinvasive, which is a swelling of the brain and can even lead to death in some cases. Of the seven current cases in people in Louisiana, four are neuroinvasive. One of those is in Livingston Parish.

The house mosquito is what Moppert says people need to be most concerned with. It's a mosquito that makes its way into homes in the evenings. "It gives us most of our disease. They're raised in septic ditches or ditches with high organic compound, content," said Moppert.

Parishes with mosquito control departments have been spraying in the evenings, but that only kills the adults. In the mornings, they're hitting the ditches where they're killing mosquito eggs before they can hatch, but what they cannot get to are the small areas holding water, so residents should make sure to dump out saucers around potted plants and any small pools of water. Plus, people should wear long sleeves in the evening and reapply repellent many times in a day because it sweats off.

"Wear repellent, preferably with deet. If you're not going to wear deet, then wear repellent with picaridin," said Moppert.

Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and West Baton Rouge Parishes have mosquito control programs. Livingston Parish voted down any mosquito control two years ago, but Parish President Layton Ricks says after their two cases, he will now start exploring what options they have.

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