The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals today confirmed four new West Nile virus cases this week, bringing this year's total to 55 cases. This week's new infections include two cases of West Nile fever, with one each in Bossier and Caddo parishes; and two cases of neuroinvasive disease, one each in Acadia and Rapides parishes.
In addition, the state's health department reported the fourth West Nile virus death this year. The death is from Ouachita Parish, the second death from Ouachita Parish this year.
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.