HOUSTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities on Friday confirmed 25 new West Nile virus infections in the southern U.S. state of Louisiana, bringing the state's total case number to 305.
West Nile virus has caused 11 deaths in Louisiana so far this year, according to the state's Department of Health.
The only year in which more West Nile-related cases and deaths were recorded in Louisiana was 2002, which witnessed 328 infections and 24 deaths.
State health officials warned that even though the fall season is underway, the virus remains a threat.
This year is also the worst year for West Nile nationally since the virus was discovered in the United States in 1999, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said there had been 3,969 cases of West Nile virus including 163 deaths across the country as of Oct. 2.
First identified in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness that leads to serious neurological disease in some cases. Its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, dizziness and muscle weakness.