West Nile virus persistent in St. Martin Parish
Two more sentinel chickens turned up with West Nile virus in St. Martin Parish last week.
The week also saw three new human cases of the disease reported, including one in Lafayette with the more serious brain and spinal cord infection.
The other two cases were the less serious West Nile fever and were found in Ouachita and Morehouse parishes.
The local samples from the two sentinel chickens were collected in St. Martinville and Cade on Monday, Oct. 10, and confirmed positive by the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab on Friday, Oct. 11.
Spraying of the areas was begun immediately.
The three new human cases bring the state’s total this year to 48. There have been two West Nile-related deaths so far this year.
People get West Nile when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. It can cause brain and spinal cord infections that can cause brain damage and death. The milder viral infection, West Nile fever, causes flu-like symptoms. Most people infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms.
There have been two cases of West Nile virus fever in human beings in upper St. Martin Parish thus far this year.
The case is in St. Martinville.
Louisiana had 160 reported cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease last year. The high was in 2002 with 204 neuroinvasive cases.
DHH has been tracking West Nile virus for more than a decade, and statistics about its occurrence in Louisiana can be found in DHH’s weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Report, found on line at www.dhh.louisiana.gov/fightthebite.
Jessie J. Boudreaux Jr. of Cajun Mosquito Control, the parish contractor for mosquito abatement, continues to stress the need for residents to protect themselves from potentially affected mosquitoes by avoiding being outside around dusk and dawn, wearing light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent, and eliminating standing water to the extent possible.