The chances of a person contracting WNV are low and most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms.
Any activity that prevents mosquitos from biting and breeding can help reduce the risk, so concerned individuals are encouraged to install screens on windows, avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk, use mosquito repellent and wear protective clothing.
This year's first case comes more than a month earlier than the first case of 2017, but Vélez de Brown said it's not necessarily a harbinger of an especially active season.
August and September are when the majority of West Nile cases occur. And most people bitten by an infected mosquito never show any symptoms. If you think you have West Nile virus infection, contact your healthcare provider.
West Nile usually spreads between birds and mosquitos, and some Canadians have caught the virus from mosquito bites. Ten sentinel chickens also tested positive. It's one of the first seven cases statewide this year, according to the state health department. The only reports in New Mexico and Montana were from a single blood test in each.
Last year, three people were diagnosed with the virus. "So we probably have 100,000 to 200,000 people that were infected in Louisiana, and that are immune", Ratard said. Severe infections can involve the central nervous system.
There were almost 3,000 cases of encephalitis and meningitis caused by the virus in both 2002 and 2012.