West Nile Virus Threat Still Present, State Health Officials Say

Wednesday, September 19th 2018, 3:39 pm
By: News On 6

Health officials are reminding Oklahoman's to continue mosquito precautions with the danger of contracting West Nile Virus (WNV) still present.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported seven confirmed cases of WNV in 2018, one of which lead to death. 

Officials said that most cases have been reported in August and September, so the threat of contracting WNV is still present.

The Department of Health provides these tips to prevent mosquito bites.

Precautions to prevent mosquito bites include:
•    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. 

Symptoms of WNV vary widely depending on a person’s risk for more severe disease that involves the central nervous system. Some may experience sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness and recover within one to three weeks while others develop life-threatening meningitis or encephalitis causing confusion, stupor, paralysis or a coma.

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, so taking steps to avoid mosquito bites is the only defense.

For more information, visit the OSDH website at http://go.usa.gov/wpz.