Baton Rouge --- Public health officials today announce six more cases of West Nile virus, bringing the state’s total to 52 cases. The new cases were three people from Caddo Parish and one case each from Bossier, Lafourche and Orleans parishes. Orleans is the only parish that had not previously reported a human West Nile case this year.

No new West Nile virus deaths were reported this week. State health officials last week confirmed that a 73-year-old man from Shreveport died of West Nile meningitis, which was the first West Nile-related death of 2003.

Dead Bird Report

For the week ending Sept. 5, dead bird activity has slowed somewhat. Of 28 birds that were tested, 11 were positive for West Nile virus (Ouachita-3, Lafayette-2, and one each from Avoyelles, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Lincoln, Richland and St. Landry parishes).

Testing has been suspended in five parishes: Bossier, Caddo, Morehouse, Natchitoches and Ouachita.,

Year-to-date numbers: 252 positives of 1,836 tested statewide, and one additional positive dead bird from Mississippi.

“As the weather grows cooler and people have less time to spend outdoors, we hope they still will remember to take precautions against mosquito bites,” said Secretary David W. Hood. “Past experience and the continued addition of cases have shown that West Nile is not just a summertime virus. Please remain vigilant.”

In Louisiana, much of the outbreak has centered in the Caddo/Bossier area. The two parishes have 35 of the state’s 52 cases, with 30 in Caddo alone. Human West Nile virus cases also have been detected in 14 parishes statewide this year. Dead birds infected with the virus have been found in 46 of the state’s 64 parishes.

Nationwide, Louisiana trails far behind Colorado (940 cases), Nebraska (326 cases) and South Dakota (250 cases) in the number of West Nile infections. There are 2,324 West Nile cases and 44 West Nile-related deaths in the United States, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To lessen your risk of contracting West Nile virus, 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 West Nile or to receive updated information about tracking and surveillance of the virus, please visit the Office of Public Health Web site,