West Nile: 3 brain/spinal infections, 7 fever, 2 without symptoms bring year's total to 92

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NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana's health department says 12 new West Nile virus infections in the state bring the year's total to 92.

Three of the cases diagnosed this week are dangerous infections of the nervous system, bringing that total to 41. The state already had surpassed last year's total of 34.

All three of those neuroinvasive infections are in East Baton Rouge Parish, where two patients diagnosed with flu-like West Nile fever and one without symptoms are located.

A health department news release says Caddo Parish also has two cases of West Nile fever, while Livingston, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes have one each. A second infection without symptoms was diagnosed in Iberville Parish.

A total of 36 fever cases and 15 without symptoms have been diagnosed this year.

Those are unlikely to reflect real totals.

Many people with flu-like symptoms don't get tested for the virus, and asymptomatic cases are found only when blood tests are made for other reasons, such as blood donations.

"Mosquitoes are still biting, and that means we are all still at risk of getting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases," said Dr. Raoult Ratard, the state epidemiologist. "If you're going to be outside this weekend, it's a good idea to protect yourself and your children with mosquito repellent. You can also fight the bite by wearing long sleeves and pants. Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Help reduce the mosquito population by dumping standing water from containers around your yard."

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