BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State health officials report one new West Nile virus death and nine new infection cases, bringing the total to 12 deaths this year and 312 cases.
The Department of Health and Hospitals' weekly report, which was released Friday, shows five new neuroinvasive disease cases — the most serious type. Two of those cases were reported in Calcasieu and one each in Iberia, Lafayette and Orleans parishes.
There were four new milder West Nile fever cases, where people experience flu-like symptoms. Two were in Ascension and one each in Jefferson Davis and Livingston parishes.
There were no new reports of asymptomatic cases, which means people show no symptoms and the cases were likely detected through blood donations or other routine medical tests.
Louisiana's most active year for West Nile was 2002, when it reported 328 cases and 24 deaths
Bruce D. Greenstein, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, said Louisiana is experiencing a very active year for the mosquito-borne virus and experts are continuing to see parishes reporting their first human cases — even this late in the year.
"This continued increase, even as we get later into the year, shows why it's important for everyone to protect their health and avoid mosquito bites," Greenstein said.
Residents should remain vigilant against mosquito bites by using repellent containing DEET, especially if outside at dawn and dusk; wear long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods and drain stagnant water from around homes and property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming, health officials said.