State reports 39 new West Nile cases, bringing total to 215

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The number of West Nile virus infections in Louisiana has reached 215, with 39 new cases reported this

past week.

No new deaths were added in the latest report. The death toll from the virus so far this year stands at 10.

Louisiana's health department says the state is experiencing its highest number of West Nile cases in years. And Hurricane

Isaac is getting some of the blame.

"Hurricane Isaac left behind a lot of water,

which, left standing, is a risk for mosquitoes breeding and swarming,"

Department

of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said in a

news release. "In addition to that, fall is getting closer,

the weather is getting more pleasant, and people are spending more

time outdoors."

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.

There were 11 new neuroinvasive disease

cases reported in Caddo, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Livingston,

Lincoln, Richland,

St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. Ten of these cases are newly

reported infections, and one is a previously diagnosed case

that progressed into neuroinvasive disease.

There are 28 new West Nile Fever cases, from

Ascension, Caddo, Calcasieu, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge,

Iberville,

Jefferson, Lafourche, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita,

Pointe Coupee, St. Charles, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington

and West Baton Rouge parishes.

One of the 39 new cases is asymptomatic, from Calcasieu Parish. Infections that don't cause symptoms are typically detected

through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests.