Last Modified: Sunday, September 23, 2012 8:37 PM
BATON ROUGE (AP) — One more person died from the West Nile virus in Louisiana in the past week and the number of infections rose to 251 for the year with 36 new cases reported, state health officials say.
The death toll from the virus so far this year stands at 11.
Louisiana's health department says the state is seeing its highest number of West Nile cases in years.
"It is very important, especially as we head into fall and people begin spending more time outdoors, to take precautions against this potentially fatal disease," Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said in a news release.
Health officials advise people to wear protective clothing, use mosquito repellent and make sure there's no standing water around homes.
West Nile virus usually results in no symptoms. But it can cause West Nile fever, which produces flu-like symptoms. In some cases it can cause neuroinvasive disease, which can result in paralysis, brain damage or death.
Eight new neuroinvasive disease cases were reported this week in Beauregard, Bienville, Caddo, Rapides, St. Charles and Webster parishes. Seven of these cases are newly reported West Nile infections and one is a previously reported case that progressed into neuroinvasive disease.
There are 21 new West Nile fever cases in Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Concordia, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lincoln, Livingston, Richland, St. Tammany and Webster parishes.
The most active year for West Nile cases in Louisiana was 2002 when the state had 328 cases and 24 deaths.