State health officials have confirmed nine more West Nile virus cases in the past week.

That brings the total number of West Nile virus cases confirmed in Louisiana so far this year to 61.

Of the latest confirmed cases, there were five of the most serious neuroinvasive disease.  All five of those were confirmed in East Baton Rouge Parish.  There were four new cases of West Nile fever.  One of those was confirmed here in Caddo Parish. There was also one in Ascension Parish and two were confirmed in East Baton Rouge Parish.

There were no new asymptomatic cases confirmed in the past week.  However, one Caddo Parish case that was earlier confirmed as asymptomatic has been upgraded to neuroinvasive disease.

State health officials stress that West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and the best thing we can do to keep from being infected is to fight the bite.  The Department of Health and Hospitals has published a list of guidelines to help reduce your chances of being bitten:

  • If you will be outside, you should wear a mosquito repellent containing DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents should contain no more than 30 percent DEET when used on children. Insect repellents also are not recommended for children younger than 2 months of age. CDC recommends that you always follow the recommendations appearing on the product label when using repellent.
  • Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
  • To apply repellent to your face, spray on your hands and then rub on your face, avoiding your eyes.
  • Adults should always apply repellent to children.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors for long periods of time.
  • Avoid perfumes and colognes when outdoors for extended periods of time.
  • Make sure that your house has tight-fitting windows and doors, and that all screens are free of holes.