West Nile Virus threatens Oklahoma

Tuesday, June 3rd 2008, 7:54 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

With the first human case of West Nile virus officially reported in Oklahoma already this year -- our state is one of the first affected.

So early in the season, it already has people who work outside taking strict precautions.

A day on the job for a crew of landscapers is always under the sunshine. They're thinking about the risk for West Nile because they're always outside, near lots of vegetation on the outskirts of the metro.

"We're concerned about it," Kelly Caviness with Caviness Landscape and Design said. "We're in it all the time. We just have to take precautions by using DEET spray we carry in our trucks."

It's the greatest precaution a person can take to guard against mosquito bites -- using bug repellent. Something epidemiologists are glad to see.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health says the two most important things to remember are to use bug spray and get rid of any probable breeding grounds. Probable breeding grounds mean any standing water around your property.

"I know that some Oklahomans are like, ‘Oh, that's passé. West Nile Virus; we hear about it every year', and they're not concerned," Kristy Bradley, Epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, said. "But, if they would visit with some of our Oklahoma neighbors and friends who have contracted West Nile and are now struggling with long lasting complications from the disease, they would be much more vigilant about applying mosquito repellant when they went outdoors."

West Nile season officially starts in July and ends in October.