24 July 2006

2006 first west nile death

COVINGTON, La. Gloria Barber has apparently become the first person in Louisiana to die of West Nile encephalitis this year, although state still has not confirmed she had the disease.

The 74-year-old woman was admitted to Lakeview Regional Medical Center near Mandeville on June 30th. Her son, Craig Simon says that although hospital doctors diagnosed the mosquito-borne virus within a week, state health officials have not acknowledged the case three weeks later.

Simon says the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided positive test results to Lakeview's doctors, but the Department of Health and Hospitals required additional testing by the state epidemiologist.

Mark Lombard, chief investigator for the St. Tammany Parish coroner's office, says that Barber's cause of death was complications from West Nile virus. He confirmed she was diagnosed at Lakeview, and that the state health department had been notified.

Lakeview officials declined to comment on the case, and referred questions to the state. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Hospitals says that the agency has not recorded any deaths from West Nile this year.

see also woman dies of west nile - from the new orleans times picayune
see www.west-nile-virus-prevention.com for more west nile virus information
center for disease control west nile virus homepage