State Health Officials Issue Early Warning For West Nile Virus

Monday, April 27th 2015, 6:04 pm
By: News 9

The heavy rain is a welcome relief from the drought, but an Epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health Acute Disease Service says the added moisture may cause another problem for Oklahomans.

"Activities of drought that are followed by heavy rains can allow for standing water sources, that then allow for that breeding source for mosquitoes," Laurence Burnsed said.

The bottom line -- mosquito numbers could increase around certain areas around our communities

So far, there have not been any cases of the West Nile virus reported in 2015. However, the risk tends to go up beginning in May and lasting through the summer months.

"We have to recognize there is that risk of illness because of mosquitoes season," said Burnsed.

The health department received reports of 18 cases last year and is hoping to reduce that number this summer by warning every one of the officials call the 'Four D's'.

1. DRAIN standing water

2. Use insect repellant with DEET

3. Stay indoors at DUSK and DAWN

4. DRESS in long sleeves and pants

Burnsed says it's also important to educate yourself on the symptoms of the illness.

West Nile symptoms include fever, headache, body ache, and sometimes a rash. The most susceptible to the illness include infants and the elderly. If symptoms are severe, health officials say to contact your doctor immediately.

Learn more information about the West Nile virus.