With the recent rains in our area, we need to be even more concerned about West Nile Virus. In fact, Louisiana leads the nation in the number of neuroinvasive cases.

There have been 25 cases in our state so far this year, 18 of those are the neuroinvasive strain. South Dakota leads the nation with 40 cases, but only 9 of those are neuroinvasive.

Centers for Disease Control
Centers for Disease Control

West Nile virus is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread West Nile virus to people and other animals by biting them.

Dr. Martha Whyte Regional Director for the Office of Public Health talks about the virus and why Louisiana has so many cases.

The CDC says West Nile virus is not spread:

  • Through coughing, sneezing, or touching
  • By touching live animals
  • From handling live or dead infected birds. Avoid bare-handed contact when handling any dead animal. If you are disposing of a dead bird, use gloves or double plastic bags to place the carcass in a garbage can.
  • Through eating infected birds or animals. Always follow instructions for fully cooking meat from either birds or mammals.

Click here to see the number of cases by state.


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