- Associated Press - Friday, August 29, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana confirms nine new cases of West Nile virus, bringing this year’s total to 61.

The Department of Health and Hospitals on Friday, in its weekly Arbovirus Surveillance Report, says new infections include five neuroinvasive disease cases - all in East Baton Rouge Parish. DHH also reports four new cases of West Nile fever - two in East Baton Rouge and one each in Ascension and Caddo parishes.

Humans contract West Nile when they’re bitten by mosquitoes infected with the virus. Dr. Raoult Ratard, the state epidemiologist, is urging residents to protect themselves through use of repellant and other ways. Doing so, he says, can “spare you from getting this disease.”

Last year, Louisiana saw 34 of the more serious neuroinvasive cases, down from 2002’s high of 204 cases.