NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Louisiana's health department says three new cases of West Nile virus reported this week bring the state's total this year to 48.
Of the three new cases, one, in Lafayette, involves a serious brain and spinal cord infection. Two others involve less serious West Nile fever – one in Ouachita (WASH'-ih-tah) Parish and one in Morehouse Parish.
There have been two West Nile-related deaths so far this year.
People get West Nile when they are bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. It can cause brain and spinal cord infections that can cause brain damage and death. The milder viral infection, West Nile fever, causes flu-like symptoms.
In most cases, however, people infected with West Nile virus show no symptoms.