The Department of Health today reports 20 new cases of West Nile virus, raising the total number of cases in state to 75 for the year.

The new cases reported this week are from Bossier (1), Caddo (3), Calcasieu (1), East Baton Rouge (4), Jefferson (1), Livingston (3), Ouachita (4), St. Landry (1), St. Tammany (1) and Webster (1) parishes.

No new cases of other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as LaCrosse virus and St. Louis encephalitis, were reported. There have been two confirmed cases of St. Louis encephalitis (one death) and three human cases of LaCrosse virus reported this year. In addition, several horses from Northwest Louisiana have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, so health officials are encouraging residents and animal owners of that area to take precautions. No human cases of that mosquito-borne illness have been reported this year.

LaCrosse, St. Louis encephalitis, Eastern Equine 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.

To avoid West Nile virus, apply mosquito repellant, wear long sleeves and long pants and avoid 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,