TULSA, Okla. – Although it doesn’t feel like summer yet, health officials are warning Oklahomans about the dangers of West Nile Virus.
The Tulsa Health Department says that a sample of mosquitoes from a trap in Tulsa County has tested positive for West Nile Virus.
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.
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.
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.