New West Nile cases in Calcasieu, Beauregard - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

New West Nile cases in Calcasieu, Beauregard

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) -

There are three new West Nile cases in Southwest Louisiana this week -- one neuroinvasive case in Calcasieu and two West Nile Fever cases, one in Calcasieu and the other in Beauregard.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals released the new numbers Friday.

Officials also said there was one new West Nile death this week in the state. Overall, there are 17 new cases statewide.

Officials said the state is experiencing its most active year for West Nile since 2002, which was the major outbreak year of the virus in Louisiana. So far, there have been 338 cases and 13 deaths from the disease reported this year.

"We keep hearing comments like 'West Nile is slowing down,' but the real message is 'West Nile is still a health threat,'" said Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "It may be getting later in the year, but we are still seeing new cases, and we continue to have parishes report their first human cases of West Nile. If you can still be bitten by mosquitoes, you can still get West Nile. Protect your health and Fight the Bite."  

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.

DHH issues a weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Report that details cases detected thus far by parish.

For more on that report and how to "Fight the Bite," click HERE.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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