Should we be concerned about mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus?

Jim Hanzo
June 20, 2018 - 8:38 am

Orleans Parish is the latest parish to announce that some mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile virus.  
Mosquitoes carrying the virus have also been found in St. John, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes.  How concerned should we be?

Dr. Fred Lopez, LSU Health Infectious Diseases says while there is always concern.  

"This is a yearly event, that we anticipate seeing cases," Lopez said.  "We'll have several dozen cases of West Nile infections reported, every summer that we know of, but most of them we don't know of because people don't even know they've been infected," said Lopez.  

He said most people don't even know they've been infected.    

"The thought is that once you've been infected with the West Nile virus, you're not going to get reinfected with it, so that you become immune from being infected a second time," Lopez said.  

Lopez does say there is no vaccine against West Nile at this time.  

"Less than 1 percent  of people develop the really serious consequence of West Nile infection which is neuroinvasive infections which is basically the brain or the spinal chord getting infected with the virus," added Lopez. 

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