Baton Rouge --- After a recent lull in West Nile activity, the Department of Health today reports seven new West Nile cases, a new St. Louis encephalitis case and two West Nile –related deaths.

“Despite these new numbers, we feel the 2003 West Nile outbreak is ending,” said LDH Secretary David W. Hood. “However, people still must take precautions against mosquito bites. Although the weather is turning colder, there still is mosquito activity taking place.”

The new West Nile cases are from Ascension, Assumption, Bossier, Catahoula, Jefferson Davis, Livingston and St. Tammany parishes. The West Nile case total for 2003 now is 110 cases.

The new St. Louis encephalitis case is from Livingston Parish, which has accounted for most of the St. Louis cases this year. There have been eight St. Louis cases this year, six from Livingston and two from neighboring East Baton Rouge Parish.

Health officials this week also reported the deaths of a 77-year-old man in Caddo Parish and a 78-year-old man from Jefferson Davis Parish. Both men died of complications from West Nile virus.

To lessen your risk of contracting West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis, apply mosquito repellent, 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 how to take precautions against contracting a mosquito-borne disease or to receive updated information about tracking and surveillance of the virus, please visit the Office of Public Health Web site,