The Louisiana Department of Health is reporting the state’s first death this year from West Nile virus, and six new cases reported since Oct. 14. That brings the total number of cases to 36, including 21 dangerous infections of the nervous system.
The number of dangerous “neuroinvasive” cases rose by four from mid-October. A department news release Monday said another 12 are flu-like West Nile fever. That’s up two from the earlier report.
The number of cases without symptoms remains at three. Those are found by blood tests.
At this time last year , 57 cases had been reported, including 36 neuroinvasive illnesses and seven of fever.
The department’s weekly report on viruses spread by insects shows that East Baton Rouge has the largest total number of cases, at seven, but Caddo and Calcasieu parishes have more neuroinvasive cases.
The six cases in Caddo all are infections of the brain or other parts of the nervous system. Those can lead to brain damage and death. The six in Calcasieu include five neuroinvasive cases and one of fever. Those in East Baton Rouge Parish include three each of neuroinvasive disease and fever, and one without symptoms.
Other neuroinvasive cases include two in Ouachita, one each in Beauregard, Franklin, and East and West Feliciana; and one in Rapides, which also has a symptom-less case.
Iberville, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, Lincoln, Orleans, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Webster parishes have reported one case each of West Nile fever, while Vernon parish reported the third asymptomatic case.