DHH confirms state’s 1st West Nile death

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State health regulators say Louisiana has recorded its first West Nile virus death of the year.

In a news release Friday, the state Department of Health and Hospitals said the death occurred in Rapides Parish. It also reports 10 new West Nile cases this week, bringing this year’s total number to 31.

This week’s new infections include six cases of neuroinvasive disease, which can cause brain damage, paralysis or death. Four of those cases were in Ouachita Parish and one each was reported from Lafayette and St. Tammany parishes.

There were also four cases of the milder West Nile fever — three in Ouachita and one in St. Tammany.

People get the virus from mosquito bites.

Dr. Raoult Ratard, the state epidemiologist, recommends taking precautions against mosquitoes.

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