Possible West Nile Virus Resurgence In Oklahoma - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Possible West Nile Virus Resurgence In Oklahoma

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[AP photo] [AP photo]

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is warning the West Nile virus (WNV) could make a comeback this summer.

A man in Pittsburgh County recently contracted the illness, and mosquitoes in Tulsa County tested positive for the virus. State epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley warned these may be early signals of a dramatic increase in cases.

"[It's] a reminder that WNV is here and precautions need to be taken to protect against the disease," Dr. Bradley said.

Learn more about West Nile virus

In 2011, only one case of WNV was reported in Oklahoma. But since 2002, there have been 329 cases and 20 deaths in the state. Dr. Bradley said July is a high-risk time for Oklahoma.

"Oklahomans are busy with yard work, participating in outdoor recreational activities, or just relaxing on the patio. All of these activities provide possible encounters with WNV-infected mosquitoes, so we want to remind everyone to use insect repellent when outdoors, and mosquito-proof their home and yard."

7/30/2008 Related Story: West Nile Survivors Seek Support In Group

6/3/2008 Related Story: West Nile Virus Threatens Oklahoma

Symptoms of West Nile virus include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. The disease can lead to difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb.

Health officials recommend taking these precautions to avoid mosquito bites:

• Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.)

• Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

• Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don't have a place to breed.

• Empty your pet's outdoor water bowl and refill daily.

• Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.

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