Three West Nile Virus cases reported across Oklahoma

File photo of a mosquito

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TULSA COUNTY, Okla. – Health officials across the state say they are now dealing with their first human cases of West Nile Virus this season.

In May, the Tulsa Health Department announced that a sample of mosquitoes from a trap in Tulsa County tested positive for the virus.

Now, officials in Tulsa say they have confirmed their first case of West Nile virus this season.

“While this case was not caused by the recent floodwaters, we do anticipate increased numbers of mosquitoes this season because of all the standing water that remains,” said THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “West Nile virus was confirmed in mosquitoes in Tulsa County in early May, and we expect to encounter more positive trap locations throughout the county this season. Everyone can take steps to reduce standing water and protect themselves against mosquito bites to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus.”

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says two other people have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Grant and Canadian counties, bringing the total number of cases to three.

Many people diagnosed with the disease experience symptoms like fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. They typically recover within one to three weeks.

However, others may develop life-threatening meningitis or encephalitis causing confusion, stupor, paralysis or a coma.

Long-lasting complications of WNV disease can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb.

Those older than the age of 50, diabetics, or those suffering from uncontrolled hypertension are at greater risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV.

There is no vaccine or treatment drug for the illness.

Tips on preventing mosquito bites:

  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin and clothing when going outdoors, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only. Always follow instructions when applying repellent.
  • Avoid spraying repellent on a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or irritated skin. Adults should apply repellent to their hands and then apply to a child’s face.
  • Products containing DEET may be used on children older than 2 months of age.
  • Protect infants by putting a mosquito net over infant carriers and strollers.
  • Avoid outdoor activities when Culex mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and early evening.
  • When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
  • Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
  • Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, children’s toys, and tires from holding water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
  • Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.
  • Repair any leaking faucets or irrigation systems.

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