Six new West Nile cases confirmed in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) announced on Friday that six new cases of West Nile virus were recently confirmed.

The new cases bring this year's total to 15.

The new infections include three neuroinvasive disease cases in Caddo Parish, one West Nile fever case in both Caddo and Livingston parishes and an asymptomatic case in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The DHH is advising that residents take steps to prevent infection.

"If you're going outside, protect yourself," Raoult Ratard, the state epidemiologist for Louisiana, said. "If mosquitoes are biting, everyone is at risk. We recommend you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your children. We encourage everyone to control the mosquito population by dumping standing water from containers around their home. This prevents mosquitoes from reproducing."

Approximately 90 percent of West Nile virus cases are asymptomatic, while approximately 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. While people of all ages are at risk for West Nile virus infection, those ages 65 and older are at a higher risk for complications related to the disease

Louisiana reported 34 cases of West Nile virus last year. The state had 204 West Nile Virus cases in 2002, which remains the record.