Calcasieu, Jeff Davis have new West Nile cases

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu Parish has two new West Nile cases and Jeff Davis Parish has one new case, according to information released Friday by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

The two new cases in Calcasieu are neuroinvasive, and the Jeff Davis case is West Nile Fever, officials said in a news release.

In all, there are nine new cases statewide. There was one West Nile-related death this week, but officials did not say where.

According to DHH, this year, Louisiana is experiencing the most West Nile cases since its 2002 outbreak year, with 312 cases and 12 deaths from the disease reported.

"This has been a very active year for West Nile virus, and it is a firm reminder that this disease is a threat to all areas of our state," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "We've already had many cases and, unfortunately, 12 deaths. We also continue to see parishes reporting their first human cases of West Nile for the year in our weekly report. 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."

According to DHH, 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.

Here are this week's numbers:

There are five new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, from Calcasieu (2), Iberia (1), Lafayette (1) and Orleans (1) parishes.

There are four new West Nile Fever cases, from Ascension (2), Jefferson Davis (1) and Livingston (1) parishes.

There were no new asymptomatic cases reported this week, officials said.

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

For more information West Nile, click HERE.