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5 West Nile deaths confirmed in Oklahoma; Best ways to avoid WNV

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UPDATE, Okla-According to new data released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, three more Oklahomans have died since last week from the West Nile Virus.

That’s a total of five deaths in the state of Oklahoma.

Two of those deaths were in Oklahoma County, and one was in Ellis County. Oklahoma County now has a total of three West Nile Virus deaths

Officials at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department said getting rid of mosquitoes is critical in preventing West Nile virus.

They said the best way to do that is to destroy the mosquitoes habitats at your home.

The OCCHD reported three people have now died from the mosquito-borne illness in Oklahoma this season.

“One of the most effective measures people can take is looking around their homes to identify and get rid of any sources of standing, stagnant water where mosquito larvae can grow,” OCCHD Public Health Protection Chief Phil Maytubby said.

To reduce mosquito habitats:

  • Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flowerpots, and tires from holding standing water.
  • Empty and refill bird baths and your pet’s outdoor water bowl daily.
  • Swimming pools and fish ponds with circulating water generally are not a problem.

“As long as the water is moving, the larvae cannot grow,” Maytubby said.

If you have standing water that cannot be drained, health officials suggest using recommends microbial larvicides that kill mosquito larvae. 

Microbial larvicides are non-toxic to humans and do not pose risks to wildlife or the environment when used according to label directions and you can usually get it at your local hardware store.

In addition to these measures, be sure to protect your home from invading mosquitoes by keeping window and door screens in good repair.

Always remember the four Ds:

1. Dusk to dawn – Mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active during these hours, so if you must go outside always take precautions.

2. Dress – Wear long sleeves with cuffs and long pants wherever mosquitoes are likely to be biting. Tuck your pants into your socks.

3. DEET – Use an insect repellant containing DEET on any exposed skin.

4. Drainage – Check regularly around your home for any water accumulation that could provide mosquito breeding grounds. For pools, hot   tubs or water features, OCCHD recommends that residents “cover, drain or maintain” these water sources to eliminate mosquito habitats.

Oklahoma County residents can report sources of stagnant water outside their own property.

REPORT: File complaint about mosquito habitats 

MORE: Information on larvicides 

West Nile Virus: Information on WNV

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