Louisiana sees another spike in human West Nile virus cases, no deaths

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Friday's state health officials announced there were 24 new cases this week.  There were no additional deaths although six people have died so far this year after contracting the neuro-invasive form of the virus.

DHH has detected 92 West Nile virus cases thus far for 2012, and more than half of these - 47 - are West Nile neuro-invasive disease, the more serious form of the virus that infects the brain and spinal cord and can cause brain damage or death.

The 24 new infections include 10 cases of neuro-invasive disease, with four being reported in Caddo Parish and one each reported from DeSoto, Orleans, Ouachita, St. Tammany, Tanigipahoa and Webster parishes. There were also new cases of West Nile fever, the milder form of the virus that causes flu-like symptoms, reported from Avoyelles (1), Bossier (3), Caddo (2), Iberville (1), Ouachita (1), Rapides (2) and St. Tammany (1) parishes.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard says "We continue to confirm additional cases each week, and as mosquitoes remain active, we can expect to see more." He says, "People need to take this disease seriously and follow precautions to avoid mosquito bites."

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