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West Nile Virus season begins as rain breeds mosquitoes

OKLAHOMA  – As this week’s rain dries out there will be a lot more Oklahomans slapping and scratching due to pesky mosquitoes.

Dawn and dusk tend to be the most popular time for mosquitoes so wear that repellent, but make sure you read the labels carefully before applying.

“Some advise you to apply it to your skin, and they’re effective for a certain period of time based on the concentration of the chemical used and some you apply to your clothing and not to your skin,” State Department of Health Epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed said.

Most symptoms of a mosquito bite are just annoying, but some can lead to severe illnesses brought on by diseases, particularly West Nile Virus.

“One in five will have symptoms and most of them will have mild symptoms of fever, muscle aches, headache and a rash that will last for several days,” Burnsed said.

But more severe symptoms can lead to death, which is something that’s happened every year since it was first introduced to the United States in 2002.

In Oklahoma, there were 76 cases of West Nile Virus reported in 2013 and a record number of cases for the state reported in 2012 with 176.

So far there has been just one case of the virus, but the season is just beginning.

“This season is from July through October so we’re really beginning to enter into the early part of West Nile Virus season so it’s very important for people to know the precautions to take,” Burnsed said.

Click here for more information on the West Nile Virus in Oklahoma.