State confirms 10 new West Nile virus cases

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana has confirmed 10 new cases of West Nile virus.

Seven of the new cases were neuroinvasive disease infections - the most serious type of the virus, infecting the brain and spinal cord. It can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage.

The cases confirmed Friday bring this year's total number to 52.

The Department of Health and Hospitals said the new infections include five neuroinvasive disease cases in East Baton Rouge Parish and one each in Ascension and Ouachita parishes. There also were three asymptomatic cases in the state, two in Caddo and one in Pointe Coupee.

Last year, Louisiana saw 34 neuroinvasive disease cases, down from 2002's high of 204.

State health officials are also reporting two new cases of chikungunya fever, but none of dengue fever in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, in its weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Summary released Friday, said so far there have been 10 cases of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness traditionally found in Africa and Asia and only one of dengue fever.

DHH says all of the infections took place while the individuals were outside of the United States.

The department says the new cases were reported in Livingston and Natchitoches parishes.

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