The state Department of Health & Hospitals confirms the first human case of West Nile virus this year. The patient is a resident of Caldwell Parish, and reportedly has the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease, West Nile Encephalitis. State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard says this has been a slow West Nile season.
Dr. Ratard says the Caldwell Parish patient is a younger person, whose prognosis for recovery is good. He says the elderly need to be especially mindful of avoiding mosquito bites that potentially carry West Nile. Last year was the worst West Nile season on record since 2002, with 160 cases of the neuroinvasive disease, nearly 200 cases of the less-serious West Nile Fever. Dr. Ratard says he does not expect this year to be anywhere near as bad. Still, he advises we all takes the needed steps to "Fight The Bite."