Louisiana confirms three new cases of West Nile virus

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has confirmed three new cases of West Nile virus in the state, including a potentially fatal Vernon Parish case.

Two of the people who tested positive for West Nile, which can result in a swelling of the brain or spinal cord, showed no symptoms. The asymptomatic infections were in Tangipahoa Parish. The Vernon Parish case involves the neuroinvasive symptoms of the disease, Associated Press reports.

"Only a very small number of infected individuals will show the serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease," the DHH said, according to Associated Press.

The three new cases reported on Friday increases the number of people infected in the state to four. The first case was reported in St. Bernard Parish in June and was also asymptomatic.

Health officials said that approximately 90 percent of West Nile cases lead to no symptoms, while approximately 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. The fever usually causes flu-like symptoms.

The West Nile virus is transmitted from mosquito bites. Officials suggest avoiding mosquito bites by avoiding colognes and perfumes, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using mosquito repellant when going outside. Windows and doors should also fit tightly and any holes on screens should be repaired or replaced. Residents should keep in mind that standing water, even as small as the amount in a flowerpot saucer, can act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.