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Oklahoma sets West Nile record

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It’s official, Oklahoma sets a record; this year’s West Nile outbreak is the worst in the state’s history.

The Oklahoma Health Department confirmed the number of cases have exceeded the record set in 2007.

This years 118 cases also includes two new deaths in Tulsa County.

That brings the death total to 7.

Unfortunately, with triple-digit temperatures continuing this month, the West Nile season remains in full swing.

“The bad news is we’re only in the middle of the West Nile outbreak. The risk continues and people need to be aware of that,” State Health Department’s Dr. Kristy Bradley said.

Dr. Bradley said until the state sees a good hard freeze, or the daytime high temperatures in the 40s and 50s, mosquitos won’t stop biting and West Nile cases won’t stop being reported.

“To slow mosquitos we need cooler temps. In Oklahoma we see West Nile transmission in September and into October,” Dr. Bradley said.

Last year the state’s only reported West Nile case came from confirmed mosquito bites in November.

“We have a couple of months ahead of us, so it’s not the time to let down your guard. You have to be mosquito-aware,” she said.

In the meantime, while cities like Oklahoma City continue to target mosquito-breeding sites, state health experts continue to stress the role we all play in prevention.

“I know everyone has been hearing of West Nile but we hope they’re also practicing personal protection we’ve been stressing,” Bradley said.