DHH: 2nd West Nile virus death

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State health regulators say another person has died from the West Nile virus.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said Friday the death, the state’s second, occurred this week in Ouachita Parish. The state’s first death was confirmed in August in Rapides Parish.

DHH also is reporting six new West Nile virus cases, bringing this year’s total number of cases to 45. The new infections include four cases of neuroinvasive disease, with three from Ouachita Parish and one from Lafayette parish, and two cases of West Nile fever, with one each in St. Landry and St. Martin parishes.

People get the virus from mosquito bites.

The most serious type of West Nile virus is neuroinvasive disease which infects the brain and spinal cord. It can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage. People infected with West Nile fever experience flu-like symptoms, while about 90 percent of all cases are asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. Such cases are typically detected through blood donations or in the court of other routine medical tests.

Last year, Louisiana reported 160 cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease in the state, which is down from 2002’s high of 204 neuorinvasive disease cases.

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

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