The Department of Health has detected seven more cases of West Nile virus, bringing the total number of cases in Louisiana to 108 for 2004. (Last year, as of Dec. 16, there were reports of 117 WNV cases.)

Three of the new cases were from Rapides Parish. Other parishes reporting one case each include Lafayette, Calcasieu, Bossier and West Carroll.

There were no additional deaths associated with West Nile virus reported this week.

No new cases of other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as LaCrosse virus and St. Louis encephalitis, were reported.

LaCrosse, St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus all are spread to humans through mosquito bites, begin with flu-like symptoms and in extreme cases can lead to brain damage or death.

Even though the weather has been turning cooler, LDH is still receiving reports of West Nile in both humans and birds. Therefore, the health agency reminds people to take precautions when outdoors. These include using mosquito repellant, wearing long sleeves and long pants and avoiding wearing perfumes or colognes when outside for prolonged periods of time.

Also, remove any standing water from around your home and make sure your windows and doors have secure screens.

For more information on West Nile virus, visit the LDH Web site,