Undated, LA (KSLA) – Four more human cases of the West Nile Virus have been confirmed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals which brings this year's total to 23 cases. The four new cases came from East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes.
According to health officials, the West Nile infections are characterized in three ways: neuroinvasive, West Nile fever and asymptomatic. A neuroinvasive illness is severe and typically results in a swelling of the brain or spinal cord which puts them at risk of brain damage or death. West Nile fever is less severe, with most people only suffering mild, flu-like symptoms. Asymptomatic individuals never show illness signs and were only discovered to have the West Nile virus in their blood through routine blood tests or blood donation.
All four new cases reported were neuroinvasive disease, with three cases from East Baton Rouge Parish and one case from Livingston Parish.
About 90 percent of all cases are asymptomatic, while about 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. Only a very small number of infected individuals will show the serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease. Residents who are 65 years old and older are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection. West Nile Virus is spread to humans through mosquito bites. DHH encourages residents to take precautions to protect themselves.