LA, TX report 2 human West Nile virus cases in the ArkLaTex

LA, TX report 2 human West Nile virus cases in the ArkLaTex
Bossier City youth sports coach Tommy Long has been diagnosed with bone cancer and now West Nile Meningitis, as well.
Bossier City youth sports coach Tommy Long has been diagnosed with bone cancer and now West Nile Meningitis, as well.

BATON ROUGE (WAFB/KSLA) - Louisiana health officials are reporting seven human cases of West Nile virus in the state, with one of those being in the ArkLaTex.

The Louisiana Department of Health said there is one case in Bossier Parish.

All seven cases are from July, the department added.

In neighboring Texas, five cases of West Nile virus in humans have been reported this year.

The Texas Department of State and Health Services also says one of the latest of those five cases is in the ArkLaTex. It was reported in Panola County.

In addition to Bossier, Louisiana has confirmed two cases of West Nile virus in Livingston Parish and one each in East Baton Rouge, Morehouse, Ouachita and Rapides parishes.

And besides Panola, the other cases in Texas were reported in Cooke, El Paso, Montgomery and Van Zandt counties.

As for the case in Bossier Parish, it was back in May that we first told you about the huge challenge facing Bossier City youth sports coach Tommy Long, diagnosed with bone cancer.

"He was actually doing really good with everything, with the treatment. I mean, he was, you know, better than what we expected it to be," recalled Tommy's wife Lindsay.

Then, just as Tommy made it halfway through chemotherapy came another diagnosis: West Nile Meningitis, inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and spread through the bite of a mosquito.

"There's no treatment for it, no cure for it. There's no anything. It just basically has to run its course," added Lindsay Long.

After 9 days on a ventilator, he's now finally strong enough to breathe on his own.

There's a common misconception that all mosquitoes are created equal. It turns out, that's not the case. There are the nuisance mosquitoes. Those that show up when it's rainy or after flooding.

Then there are the disease-carrying mosquitoes. They may be around all year around here, but they really show up in big numbers when it gets hot and it gets dry.

"Dirty water mosquitoes breed and that's the ones that carry West Nile," explained  Cliff Cannon.

He's the mosquito control director in Bossier Parish. "We've sprayed several hundred roads this last couple of weeks," said Cannon.

They've also set up mosquito traps parishwide for weekly testing. So far, there's been no sign of West Nile.

Long's family may not be sure exactly when or where that infected mosquito bit Tommy, but are sure their faith will see them through this ordeal.

"And you have to stay strong in that and never waiver," said Lindsay Long.

Texas counties with West Nile fever in humans
Texas counties with West Nile fever in humans

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