Baton Rouge, La.- The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has confirmed four more human cases of the West Nile Virus, bringing this year's total to 14, which includes one case of neuroinvasive disease from St. Tammany Parish.
The four new cases are from Bossier, East Baton Rouge, St. Tammany and West Baton Rouge parishes.
Health officials characterize West Nile infections three ways: neuroinvasive, West Nile fever and asymptomatic.
Officials say 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 most people only suffering mild, flu-like symptoms.
Asymptomatic individuals were never ill and were only discovered to have the West Nile virus in their blood when blood work was done for some other reason, such as blood donation.
This year, St. Tammany, Rapides and Vernon parishes each have one case of neuroinvasive disease.
In addition, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana and Rapides parishes each have a confirmed case of West Nile fever.
Bossier, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and West Baton Rouge parishes each have one asymptomatic case. Tangipahoa Parish has three asymptomatic cases.
"This is a reminder that West Nile Virus is once again here in Louisiana," said Dr. Ratard DHH State Epidemiologist. "It should always be taken seriously. In view of that, we should all take some simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito populations in and around the home."