Nine new West Nile cases, one death reported in state

BATON ROUGE (AP) — State health officials report one new West Nile virus death and nine new infection cases, bringing the

total to 12 deaths this year and 312 cases.

The Department of Health and Hospitals'

weekly report, which was released Friday, shows five new neuroinvasive

disease cases

— the most serious type. Two of those cases were reported in

Calcasieu and one each in Iberia, Lafayette and Orleans parishes.

There were four new milder West Nile fever cases, where people experience flu-like symptoms. Two were in Ascension and one

each in Jefferson Davis and Livingston parishes.

There were no new reports of asymptomatic cases, which means people show no symptoms and the cases were likely detected through

blood donations or other routine medical tests.

Louisiana's most active year for West Nile was 2002, when it reported 328 cases and 24 deaths

Bruce D. Greenstein, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, said Louisiana is experiencing a very active year

for the mosquito-borne virus and experts are continuing to see parishes reporting their first human cases — even this late

in the year.

"This continued increase, even as we get later into the year, shows why it's important for everyone to protect their health

and avoid mosquito bites," Greenstein said.

Residents should remain vigilant against mosquito bites by using repellent containing DEET, especially if outside at dawn

and dusk; wear long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for long periods and drain stagnant water from around homes and property

to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming, health officials said.