BATON ROUGE, La. — Fourteen cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Louisiana, all in people who became ill from the mosquito-borne virus before the south Louisiana flooding, the state epidemiologist said Monday.
Authorities warn there could be an eventual rise in cases from mosquitoes breeding in standing water that remains.
Of the 14 confirmed cases, eight are dangerous infections of the brain or other parts of the nervous system, four are flu-like West Nile fever, and two are symptomless cases detected by blood tests, said epidemiologist Raoult Ratard.
A Louisiana Department of Health official, Frank Welch, said the risk of West Nile virus is expected to rise in areas that were flooded. He said the floods initially cut mosquito numbers but as waters subside, mosquitoes will return and breed in standing water.
A department report available on the internet shows three of the “neuro-invasive” cases are in Calcasieu Parish, two are in Caddo Parish and one each in Beauregard, East Baton Rouge and Ouachita parishes.
The West Nile fever cases are in Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes, and the cases detected by blood tests are in East Baton Rouge and Vernon parishes