DHH: Two dead of West Nile Virus

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Department of Health and Hospitals has confirmed that two people have died of West Nile Virus.

DHH did not release the location of either death, but a New Orleans television station reported earlier this week that an elderly Tangipahoa Parish farmer had died of the neuroinvasive disease.

The deaths are the first in the state since 2008.

"We know from the past 10 years of surveillance that this disease has reached every corner of the state, meaning people are at risk for West Nile regardless of whether there are cases and deaths in your parish," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard. "People should own their own health and take responsibility to make all the necessary precautions that protect you and your loved ones from mosquito bites."

DHH says that there are 53 reported cases of West Nile so far this year, 29 of which were neuroinvasive.  The 29 neuroinvasive cases are the most since 2002, when there were 204 cases and 24 deaths.

90 percent of West Nile cases are asymptomatic, just under 10 percent will develop West Nile Fever, and a only a small percentage of infected people will develop neuroinvasive symptoms.

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