OKLAHOMA CITY – As we get further into summer, mosquitoes seem to come out in droves.
Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say an Oklahoma resident has recently been diagnosed with West Nile virus.
This is the first confirmed case of the virus in Oklahoma this year, which came from Major County.
The health department is now warning residents to take precautions to avoid contracting the disease.
Officials say the highest risk months in Oklahoma for West Nile virus exposure occur from July through October.
In 2013, 84 cases of West Nile virus were confirmed among Oklahoma residents, resulting in eight deaths.
The virus is spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and transmits the virus when biting humans, horses and some other mammals.
Symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, stomach problems, rash, joint pain and muscle weakness.
Long-lasting complications include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness, tremors and paralysis of a limb.
According to The Weather Channel, nearly 80 percent of patients infected with West Nile virus actually don’t even get sick. Others feel under the weather for a few days and recover so quickly they never knew they were sick.
Cases ranged in age from 17 to 92 years, but person over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of developing a severe neurological disease from the virus.
Officials say you should stick to the following guidelines:
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Especially wear repellent when you are outside between dusk and dawn. Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.
- Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
- Empty your pet’s outdoor water bowl and refill daily.
- Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.
For more information, visit the health department’s website.