MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Louisiana health department reports two more West Nile deaths

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) confirmed on Friday that two more residents died from West Nile virus infection.

The announcement brings the total number of West Nile virus deaths in the state to four.

Health officials in Louisiana urged residents to take precautions to prevent infection.

"We are still confirming new human cases of West Nile virus in Louisiana," DHH State Epidemiologist Raoult Ratard said. "It is imperative that people protect themselves and their children from being bitten by mosquitoes. That's the only way you can be sure that you won't become infected with West Nile virus or any other mosquito-borne diseases."

DHH recommended that Louisiana residents take steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside and using appropriate repellent. Residents can also take steps to deter mosquito breeding near their homes by removing standing sources of water.

DHH also said on Friday that five horses in Louisiana were confirmed to have eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne disease that can also affect humans. No cases of EEE have been reported in humans this year in Louisiana.

The agency said that it is continuing to monitor any new cases of chikungunya and dengue fevers in the state. So far this year, 10 cases of chikungunya and one case of dengue fever were reported.