NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Rapides Parish resident died last week from West Nile virus, and three new cases were confirmed, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported Friday.
The death was the second this year in Rapides Parish, where three dangerous infections of the brain or spinal cord, called neuroinvasive disease, have been reported.
The other death was in Ouachita Parish, where one of the three new cases was reported. Like the two new cases in Lafayette Parish, it was neuroinvasive, the department said in a report on the week through Oct. 12.
Ouachita parish has had 14 neuroinvasive cases this year, Lafayette nine, Caldwell three, and Calcasieu, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes one each.
The new cases bring the year’s human West Nile total to 51, including 32 neuroinvasive cases and 15 of flu-like West Nile fever. The other four people had no symptoms and were identified through blood tests.
At this time last year, doctors had confirmed 312 West Nile cases, 130 of them neuroinvasive and 141 of fever.
People get West Nile when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. About 90 percent of infected people never have any symptoms.
Dr. Raoult Ratard, the state epidemiologist, recommends that people going outside for any length of time use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and avoid perfumes and colognes. People should also dispose of anything that might collect water and routinely check and clean roof gutters to keep them from serving as mosquito breeding grounds.
State health department information on West Nile: