Louisiana DHH confirms three more West Nile virus cases

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals confirmed three new cases of West Nile virus on Friday, raising this year's total number of cases to 48.

The new cases include two cases of West Nile fever in Morehouse and Ouachita parishes and one case of neuroinvasive disease in Lafayette Parish. While approximately 90 percent of West Nile virus cases are asymptomatic, approximately 10 percent of infected individuals will develop West Nile fever. A very small number of infected individuals show the serious complications associated with neuroinvasive disease, such as paralysis, brain damage and death.

So far in 2013, Ouachita Parish reported 13 cases of neuroinvasive disease, Lafayette Parish has seven cases, Caldwell and Rapides parishes have three cases each and St. Tammany, Livingston and Calcasieu parishes have one case each. The state reported two deaths from West Nile virus this season.

In 2012, Louisiana reported 160 cases of West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease in the state, down from 2002's high of 204 cases of neuroinvasive disease.

People can contract West Nile virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. The virus can affect them in one of three ways with most experiencing no symptoms. Symptoms for West Nile fever are similar to flu symptoms.