Health Department: Louisiana has highest rate of West Nile

Health Department: Louisiana has highest rate of West Nile
Mosquito and tick-borne illnesses are on the rise. (FOX 8 file photo)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The State Health Department said Louisiana has the highest rates of West Nile Virus in the country.

Fifty-three people in the state tested positive for the virus so far this year.

Two people have died.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes and in rare cases, can cause brain damage and paralysis.

Officials said most do not show symptoms.

To protect yourself, avoid going outside at dawn and dusk, and wear insect repellant that contains DEET.

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