Health officials: Oklahoman dies from West Nile Virus, first of the year

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File photo of a mosquito

CARTER COUNTY, Okla. – One Oklahoman has died after being diagnosed with West Nile Virus.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, a Carter County resident died after contracting the virus.

Across all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, there have been 16 people with confirmed cases of West Nile Virus.

So far, eight Oklahomans have been hospitalized because of it.

However, over 80 percent of those infected will never become ill.

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.

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.

Health officials want to remind residents to  take extra precaution against the mosquito-born illness by avoiding mosquito bites and reducing habitats where mosquitoes live and breed.

To reduce mosquito habitats: Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water. Empty and refill birdbaths and your pet’s outdoor water bowl daily.

For standing water sources that cannot be drained, OCCHD recommends microbial larvicides that kill mosquito larvae before they emerge as adults.

Here is a simple way to remember how to “Fight the Bite” using the 4 D’s of mosquito safety:

  1. DRAIN standing water on your property so mosquitoes won’t breed
  2. Use insect repellant that contains DEET on your clothes
  3. Stay indoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitos are most prevalent
  4. DRESS in long sleeves and pants and spray repellant on your clothes.

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