West Nile Virus confirmed in the Tulsa area
TULSA (FOX23) - The Tulsa County Health Department says two people in Green Country have been diagnosed with West Nile virus.
A 65-year old man in Tulsa County and a man in Pittsburg County have the fires. The health department also says mosquitoes in the area have tested positive for the virus.
“The first WNV case in a Pittsburgh County man and positive mosquito tests in Tulsa County are a reminder that WNV is here and precautions need to be taken to protect against the disease,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley.
Although the past three years have been relatively quiet for WNV in the state, Bradley said early indicators may signal a dramatic rise in Oklahoma cases in 2012. While only one case of WNV was reported in Oklahoma in 2011, 329 cases and 20 deaths have been reported in the state from the disease since 2002. Additionally, health authorities in Texas are reporting an increase in human cases and positive mosquito tests this year.
“July typically marks the beginning of our high risk period for exposure to WNV in Oklahoma. It is also a time when Oklahomans are busy with yard work, participating in outdoor recreational activities, or just relaxing on the patio,” Bradley said. “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.”
Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness. If you develop these symptoms and have suffered mosquito bites within the past two weeks health department officials say you should see a doctor.
Officials also urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using repellant before going outside and making sure all screen windows and doors are secure.
For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s WNV website at http://go.usa.gov/wpz.