7.16.12 Six new cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Louisiana, bringing the total number of cases this year to 10. Three of the new cases were found in residents from Jefferson, East Feliciana and Rapides parishes who have West Nile fever, the intermediate form of the virus, with mild flu-like symptoms. Two other cases, in St. Bernard and Tangipahoa parishes, have the asymptomatic form of the disease, which does not manifest any symptoms or progress to full-blown illness.
The final case was found in an elderly man in Rapides who was diagnosed with neuroinvasive form of the disease, which is the most severe presentation of the virus, resulting in swelling of the brain or spinal cord, brain damage or death. A previous case of this type was diagnosed in Vernon Parish last week.
Last year, there were only 12 cases of West Nile in Louisiana, the lowest number reported since the state began diagnosing the virus in 2002. The disease has been on a steady decline in recent years, most notably for the neuroinvasive cases.