West Nile continues to menace ArkLaTex - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

West Nile continues to menace ArkLaTex

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Mosquitos carrying the dangerous West Nile virus continue to threaten lives in the ArkLaTex. In Louisiana, there are now 31 new cases and one new death reported in the past week, according to the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

In total, 10 people who have contracted the virus this year have died. Of the 176 cases the DHH has detected this year, more than half of those are of the most serious type that can lead to brain damage, paralysis or death.

There are eight new cases in Caddo Parish, two in Bossier and two in Desoto.

State health officials say this week's new cases were infected before the onset of Hurricane Isaac and are not related to the storm. They know this because there is a two-week period between when people are infected with West Nile through mosquito bites and when symptoms appear.

"During a hurricane, floodwater washes out stagnant water and disrupts mosquito breeding. It's the coming weeks that pose a health threat, as standing water collects and more people head outside to clean up after the storm," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein.

When people are infected with West Nile, the virus will affect them in one of three ways. West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord.

Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage. The milder viral infection is West Nile Fever, in which people experience flu-like symptoms. 

The majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. These cases are typically detected through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests.

Of the new West Nile cases reported this week, 10 have neuroinvasive disease, from Ascension (1), Bossier (1), Caddo (2), East Baton Rouge (2), Jefferson (1), Madison (1), Rapides (1) and Webster (1) parishes; 16 have West Nile Fever, from Ascension (1), Bossier (1), Caddo (4), Calcasieu (4), East Baton Rouge (4), Iberville (1) and Webster (1) parishes; and five have asymptomatic cases, from Caddo (2), Catahoula (1), Jefferson (1) and West Baton Rouge (1) parishes.

The most active year for West Nile cases in Louisiana was 2002, when the state experienced 328 cases and 24 deaths.

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