The number of West Nile virus infections in Louisiana has reached 251, with 36 new cases reported this past week, including cases in Bienville, Caddo and Webster parishes.
One new death has been added in the latest report, bringing the death toll from the virus so far this year to 11.
According to state health officials: There are eight new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, from Beauregard (1), Bienville (1), Caddo (3), Rapides (1), St. Charles (1) and Webster (1) parishes. Seven of these cases are newly reported West Nile infections, and one is a previously reported case that progressed into neuroinvasive disease.
There are 21 new West Nile Fever cases, from Bossier (3), Caddo (6), Calcasieu (3), Concordia (1), East Baton Rouge (1), Jefferson (1), Lincoln (1), Livingston (1), Richland (1), St. Tammany (1) and Webster (2) parishes. There are eight new asymptomatic cases reported this week, from Ascension (1), Caddo (3), Lafayette (1), Lafourche (1), Richland (1) and Vernon (1) parishes.
"It is very important, especially as we head into fall and people begin spending more time outdoors, to take precautions against this potentially fatal disease," said Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "West Nile is a risk, but it's one that is easily prevented - Fight the Bite. Wear repellant and protective clothing if you are going outdoors and empty standing water around your homes to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming."
Louisiana's health department says the state is experiencing its highest number of West Nile cases in years.
Humans are infected when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes.
West Nile virus usually results in no symptoms. But it can cause West Nile fever, which produces flu-like symptoms. In some cases it can cause neuroinvasive disease, which can result in paralysis, brain damage or death.