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Oklahoma County resident diagnosed with West Nile Virus

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File photo of a mosquito

OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials have confirmed that an Oklahoma County resident has been diagnosed with West Nile Virus.

Last month, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department confirmed that a mosquito in the area tested positive for the virus.

The virus is spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and transmits the virus to humans and other mammals.

If you’ve been outside, you have probably noticed that the mosquito population is booming following the recent rainfall.

However, experts say you shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about those pests.

Floodwater mosquitoes thrive after severe flooding. Experts say they are classified as “nuisance mosquitoes” and do not increase the risk for the virus.

Floodwater mosquitoes die out three weeks after the rain stops and the sun dries out low-lying areas.

Officials say the Culex mosquito is more prevalent during mid-to-late summer when the temperatures are hotter and the weather pattern is drier.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Officials say the key to protecting yourself against the virus is to practice the 4 D’s.

  • Wear repellant with DEET
  • Stay indoors at dusk or dawn
  • Dress in long sleeves
  • Drain water

To reduce mosquito habitats, experts say you should prevent standing waters in buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots and tires.

Fortunately, swimming pools and fishponds with circulating water are usually not a problem.

“As long as the water is moving, the larvae cannot grow,” said Phil Maytubby, the county’s public health protection director.

Since standing water is such an issue, you can report it to the health department for private property at 405-425-4347 or occdh.org.

You can also report a problem on public property by calling the action center at 405-297-2535.

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