Officials: Oklahoma patient diagnosed neuroinvasive form of West Nile

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Officials with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department confirm the first human case of the West Nile Virus in Oklahoma.

“It’s the first case of West Nile Virus of the season in all of Oklahoma. It is an Oklahoma County resident,” Eric Howard, an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, said.

Howard said, unfortunately, it’s that time of year.

“It has to do with when the temperatures get high. So, summertime starts and we get temperatures over 90, the virus within the mosquitoes is more easily transmitted to humans,” Howard said.

Officials say there are two types of West Nile. One is known as West Nile Fever and the other is neuroinvasive, which is more severe.

“That is the more serious, often deadly at times, where you could be paralyzed, you could have encephalitis, meningitis, related to that West Nile virus,” he said.

The Oklahoman who is infected has the neuroinvasive kind.

Officials with the health department tell us they can’t say much about the infected person, but they say this case brings about several very important reminders.

“Take preventative measures, wear long sleeves,” Howard said.

Also, wear bug repellent with DEET, limit your time outdoors, and drain any standing water on your property, which will help keep mosquitoes from multiplying.

While you’re taking those precautions, the health department is busy trapping and testing mosquitoes for the virus.

“In Oklahoma, you’ll see black ones and brown ones, just by our eyes, what we can see without any tool or anything. The brown ones are typically going to be Culex mosquitoes. Those are the ones that most often carry West Nile,” Howard said.

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