State health officials say this year's first case of West Nile Virus in humans has been confirmed.  

It was confirmed this week in Caldwell Parish and determined to be the most serious neuroinvasive disease -- the type that can lead to brain damage or even death.  State Epidemiologist Raoult Ratard recommends that all citizens take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitos because they carry and spread the virus.

Health official characterize West Nile infections three ways:  neuroinvasive, West Nile Fever, and asymptomatic.  In neuroinvasive disease, the virus attacks nerve cells.  This can be very severe in older people.  West Nile Fever is less severe, with most people suffering only mild, flu-like symptoms.  Asymptomatic individuals were never ill and were only discovered to have the virus when blood work was done for some other reason.