Health Officials: 'Fight The Bite' - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Health Officials: 'Fight The Bite'

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BATON ROUGE, La. - State health officials on Friday confirmed 29 new West Nile virus cases and no new deaths, and reminded Louisiana residents to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites so they can lower their risk of infection. Louisiana is seeing the highest number of reported West Nile infections in several years, with 280 cases and 11 deaths from the disease thus far in 2012.

"While your calendar may say its fall, our weather is still hot and humid - perfect for mosquitoes, so people are still at risk for West Nile virus," said Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "People should continue to ‘Fight the Bite' to protect themselves and their families from this disease. Wear repellant and protective clothing if you are going outdoors, and remember to empty standing water around your homes to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and swarming."

Humans contract West Nile when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. When people are infected with West Nile, the virus will affect them one of three ways. West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type, infecting the brain and spinal cord. Neuroinvasive disease can lead to death, paralysis and brain damage. The milder viral infection is West Nile Fever, in which people experience flu-like symptoms. The majority of people who contract West Nile will be asymptomatic, which means they show no symptoms. These cases are typically detected through blood donations or in the course of other routine medical tests.

For continuing coverage on this story, please refer to http://www.kalb.com and @kalbtv5. Join the conversation on Twitter at #kalb5.

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