Baton Rouge --- Public health officials have confirmed an earlier report from the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office stating that a man from Caddo Parish is the first person to die of West Nile virus complications this year.

The victim was a 73-year-old male who died Sept. 1 of West Nile-related meningitis. The Office of Public Health previously had confirmed the man had West Nile virus.

Statewide, there have been 46 cases of West Nile virus this year, with 27 cases in Caddo Parish alone. In humans, West Nile virus typically spreads through bites from mosquitoes that have bitten an infected bird. The majority of people who get the virus experience no illness or an infection similar to a mild flu with fever, headache and fatigue. Rarely, the virus multiplies in the central nervous system and can cause encephalitis or meningitis. If you begin experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact a doctor or health care provider.

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 OPH Web site,