West Nile Virus Cost LA $20 Million - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

West Nile Virus Cost LA $20 Million

September 28, 2004
Reported by The Associated Press

A US Centers for Disease Control study says the 2002 outbreak of West Nile virus cost the Louisiana economy 20-point-one million dollars -- and probably more.

According to the study, which reviewed costs from hospitalization to abatement efforts from June 2002 until February 2003, the costs of mosquito control accounted for about half the expense in Louisiana.

During that time, 329 people were diagnosed with West Nile virus diseases in the state. Among those, 204 had illnesses involving the central nervous system and 24 died.

The study breaks down the costs this way:
-- ten-point-nine million dollars for illness (4.4 million medical and 6.5  million non-medical)
-- $9.2 million for the public health response, such as mosquito control.

The study says the figures are likely underestimated because costs for outpatient care were unavailable as were costs incurred by patients with infections who were not identified or reported.

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