LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – Three cases of West Nile virus have hit Louisiana and though the epidemic is not wide-spread, the danger is still out there. You cannot escape mosquitoes in this summer heat, especially after it rains. The pesky insects carry the sometimes deadly West Nile virus, so recognizing the symptoms like headache and fatigue is important, said Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Physician Dr. Kamran Chaudry.
These symptoms can happen with most viruses, but seeing a doctor is not necessary until you become disoriented.
"Worst case scenario is when someone comes into the ER real fatigued, confused...don't really know where they're at, stiff neck, high fever," explained Dr. Chaudry.
Water can collect in many different places like flowerpots, trash cans and even park swings. Standing water after rain storms can make perfect breeding grounds for more mosquitoes, so Dr. Chaudry recommends dumping pools of water all around your neighborhood to lessen the number of insects.
The 3 cases in Louisiana this year is a far cry from 2002 and 2003 when human cases reached nearly 3000 nationwide and the virus caused 24 deaths just in Louisiana. So why did the virus disappear? Health officials say birds, which carry West Nile, may be developing immunities to the virus.
The Lake area has not had any reported cases. So far, the West Nile virus cases were reported in East Baton Rouge Parish and in Ascension Parish.