The action comes just days
after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared
Louisiana to have one of the worst West Nile outbreaks in the
virus' history. The Pelican State is hoping to get as much as
$5 million in federal funds to battle the virus.
As of Aug. 2, there have
been 36 cases of West Nile virus related human illness confirmed
to CDC - 32 in Louisiana -- during 2002, including 2 deaths. From
1999 through 2001, there were 149 cases of West Nile virus human
illness in the United States reported to CDC and confirmed, including
In the United States from
1999 through Aug. 2, 2002, the virus has been documented in Alabama,
Arkansas, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida,
Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri,
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The CDC warns that the
virus could be a concern to anyone who works in an outdoor environment.
It is spread by mosquitoes that bite infected birds and then spread
it to humans. "Yet it's fairly easy to prevent," says
Dr. Lyle Petersen of the CDC. "You should be concerned enough
about it to do something but not have it change your whole lifestyle."
Guidelines from the CDC
include spraying on DEET-containing mosquito repellent when you
go outdoors. Stay away from standing water where mosquitoes can
breed and try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes
are most active.
Most victims get a flu-like
illness, with fever, headache and muscle pains that last two or
three days. But the disease can cause a potentially fatal brain
inflammation - encephalitis -- that can cause death.
Anyone who knows they have
been in a mosquito-infested area and then suffers a high fever,
confusion, severe headache, stiff neck or sudden muscle weakness
should see a doctor. There is a vaccine for horses but not for humans,
nor is there any anti-viral treatment.
--Donna Carlson, staff writer