Posted: Sep 18, 2010 9:59 AM
Source: Associated Press
State health officials have confirmed four new human cases of West Nile virus, bringing this year's total to 23.
West Nile infections are characterized in three ways: neuroinvasive, West Nile fever and asymptomatic. All four new cases reported were neuroinvasive disease, with three from East Baton Rouge Parish and one from Livingston Parish.
A neuroinvasive illness is severe and typically results in a swelling of the brain or spinal cord. People with this illness are at risk of brain damage or death. West Nile fever is less severe, with people only suffering mild, flu-like symptoms. Asymptomatic individuals were never ill and were only discovered to have the virus when blood work was done for some other reason, such as blood donation.
West Nile virus is spread to humans through mosquito bites. Officials urge residents to take precautions to avoid being bitten.