Health department warning Oklahomans after first death related to virus

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Department of Health is warning Oklahomans after one person died following complications related to a virus.

Officials say a Delaware County resident died after being infected with the Heartland virus.

The virus first appeared on the scene in 2009 and this latest case is only the tenth report of the virus.

Also, the Oklahoma victim is only the second person to die from it.

All of the patients diagnosed with Heartland virus reported spending several hours each day in outside activities or occupations.

Experts say the virus is likely spread through tick bites.

Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, nausea, bruising easily and diarrhea.

Right now, there are no routine testing available for Heartland virus.

There is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat the disease.

The department of health recommends the following:

  • Use insect repellents and follow package instructions.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors so that ticks are easily seen and removed.
  • Avoid bushy and wooded areas where ticks can be transferred onto you.
  • Perform thorough tick checks soon and daily after spending time outdoors.