West Nile hits Louisiana, with 9 confirmed infections

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s Department of Health reports the first nine human cases of this year’s West Nile virus season, including five dangerous infections of the brain and spinal cord.

Those five cases include two in Washington Parish and one each in East Baton Rouge, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes.

Two cases of flu-like West Nile fever were reported; one each in East Baton Rouge and Washington parishes.

Blood donations turned up two people who contracted the virus without symptoms — one each in Caddo and Washington parishes.

Last year, Louisiana’s first cases were reported during the first week in July. By this time last year, 53 cases had been reported, including 31 dangerous cases and 13 of West Nile fever.

The department recommends that everyone take precautions against mosquitoes. To keep mosquitoes off your skin, use mosquito repellant, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts outdoors, and avoid perfumes and colognes when spending a long time outdoors.

Protecting your home includes eliminating any standing water, including even bottle caps, and regularly cleaning roof gutters.

More details are available at www.ldh.la.gov/FightTheBite .

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