BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - Eight new cases of West Nile were reported this week by state health officials with one of those cases being in Calcasieu Parish and three from Lafayette Parish.
According to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, this week's new infections include four cases of neuroinvasive disease, one each from Caldwell, Lafayette, Ouachita and Rapides parishes as well as four cases of West Nile fever, with two cases from Lafayette parish and one each from Calcasieu and Ouachita.
Officials say 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," a release from DHH states. "About 90 percent of all cases are asymptomatic, while about 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. Only a very small number of infected individuals will show the serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease. Residents who are 65 years old and older are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection."
You can find more information and prevention tips online at www.dhh.louisiana.gov/fightthebite.