The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals confirmed nine new cases of West Nile virus Friday, five of which are neuroinvasive disease cases.
The new cases bring this year's total to 61 reported infections. Louisiana continues to have the nation's second-highest number of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease cases.
This week's new infections include five neuroinvasive disease cases, all in East Baton Rouge Parish. There were four new cases of West Nile fever - one in Ascension, one in Caddo and two in East Baton Rouge. There were no new asymptomatic cases. A previously reported asymptomatic case in Caddo Parish has been upgraded to neuroinvasive disease. This week's cases can be found in the weekly West Nile virus Surveillance report by clicking here.
"If you're going to be outside this Labor Day weekend, take time to protect yourself from mosquitoes," said DHH State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard. "Protecting yourself is very simple and it could spare you from getting this disease."
The Centers for Disease Control say fewer than 1 percent of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.
People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease are also at greater risk for serious illness. Recovery from severe disease may take several weeks or months, and some of the neurologic effects may be permanent.