Two mosquito pools test positive for St. Louis encephalitus virus
Two mosquito pools in Calcasieu Parish recently tested positive for St. Louis encephalitis virus, according to a report from the state Health Department.
The report, dated Sept. 8, confirms that 15 mosquito pools in six parishes tested positive for the virus. Just over 1,000 pools statewide also tested positive for West Nile virus.
Calcasieu Mosquito Control Director Scott Willis said the symptoms of St. Louis encephalitis virus are very similar to West Nile. However, it doesn’t appear as frequently as West Nile. The last time pools in Calcasieu tested positive for the SLE virus was 2010, Willis said.
The report stated there have been 79 confirmed human cases of West Nile so far this year. Forty-eight were neuroinvasive, and four were fatal.
Louisiana is certainly having more West Nile activity this year. This same time last year, there were 390 positive mosquito pools. But Willis said a higher number of positive pools doesn’t always mean more human cases or deaths.
Less than 1 percent of those infected with the SLE virus show any symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms don’t appear until five to 15 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.
Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. It can also lead to an inflammation of the brain and be fatal in rare cases. Most severe cases are reported in the elderly.
Willis said residents should wear mosquito repellent, along with pants and long sleeves when outdoors, especially at dawn, dusk and nighttime hours.