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

Last Modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 11:14 AM

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.

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