State's first West Nile case of season reported in Caldwell Parish

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana's health department said a seriously ill Caldwell Parish resident is the first person this season

to be diagnosed with West Nile virus.

State epidemiologist Raoult Ratard said it's a very late start. He said the cool spring apparently kept

mosquito populations down.

The case confirmed Monday is the most serious form of the disease, affecting the nervous system.

By this time last year, 31 such

"neuroinvasive" cases had been diagnosed. There were 160 last year, plus

191 cases of flu-like

West Nile fever. Another 46 people were diagnosed without any

symptoms, 34 of them after giving blood. It was the worst season

since 2002.

About 90 percent of all cases are asymptomatic. About 10 percent develop West Nile fever.