29 new West Nile cases in LA; 3 in Calcasieu - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

29 new West Nile cases in LA; 3 in Calcasieu

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(Source: JYI) (Source: JYI)

Three new West Nile fever cases have been reported in Calcasieu Parish, according to a Friday news release from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

In all, state health officials confirmed 29 new West Nile virus cases with no new deaths.

Officials are reminding residents to continue to take precautions against mosquito bites so they can lower their risk of infection.

Officials, in the release, said they are seeing the highest number of reported West Nile infections in several years, with 280 cases and 11 deaths from the disease thus far in 2012.

There are 11 new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, from Caddo (1), DeSoto (1), East Baton Rouge (1), East Feliciana (1), Grant (1), Jefferson (2), Orleans (1), Rapides (1), St. Martin (1) and Tangipahoa (1) parishes.

There are 15 new West Nile Fever cases, from Caddo (3), Calcasieu (2), East Baton Rouge (2), Lafayette (1), Morehouse (1), Orleans (2), Terrebonne (1), Webster (1), West Feliciana (1) and West Baton Rouge (1) parishes.

There are three new asymptomatic cases reported this week, from East Carroll (1), Iberville (1) and St. Tammany (1) parishes.

According to officials, humans contract West Nile when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. When people are infected with West Nile, the virus will affect them one of three ways. West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage. The milder viral infection is West Nile Fever, in which people experience flu-like symptoms. The majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. These cases are typically detected through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests.

"While your calendar may say it's fall, our weather is still hot and humid - perfect for mosquitos, so people are still at risk for West Nile virus," said Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "People should continue to Fight the Bite to protect themselves and their families from this disease. Wear repellant and protective clothing if you are going outdoors, and remember to empty standing water around your homes to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming."

DHH issues a weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Report that details cases detected thus far by parish, which is published here.

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