The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) recently confirmed that the state has seen 20 human cases of West Nile virus so far this year.
Ten of these cases have resulted in neuroinvasive disease, which is the severest form of the virus. Two of these cases have been diagnosed as West Nile fever, and the remaining eight have not shown any signs of any symptoms.
Approximately 90 percent of all human cases of West Nile virus do not show any symptoms. Approximately 10 percent of people who contract the virus will have the West Nile fever. It is a small percentage of people who develop neuroinvasive disease, which has serious symptoms.
Louisiana residents who are 65 years old or older are at the highest risk for West Nile virus complications. People of all ages are at risk for the initial infection of the virus.
Health officials reminded the general public to be cautious when going outdoors. If it is necessary to go outside, people should use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET.
"It's critical for adults and children to wear mosquito repellent at all times while outdoors," Dr. Jimmy Guidry, the state health officer, said. "Whether your children are playing sports, your family is outside grilling or you're doing yard work, be sure to protect yourself and your family."