Oklahoma West Nile Nothing To Shrug Off

Thursday, September 7th 2017, 10:14 pm
By: News On 6

The first West Nile death in Oklahoma this year is a reminder that mosquito season is still here and you should still take precautions. 
Health officials say because the weather has cooled down a bit some folks think the mosquito population is dying off. 
But the West Nile threat is still very real, so taking precautions like using repellant is a must.

The first West Nile death happened in Pottawatomie County. 

It's the only West Nile death so far this year, but multiple people have been infected.

Scott Meador of the Tulsa Health Department said, "the amount of infections vary from year to year."

Each week the Tulsa Health Department tests its traps and continues to find mosquitos carrying the virus. 

Meador said the prime season for contracting the virus is about from July to September.

“Just because the temperatures are cooler in the morning doesn't mean the mosquitoes are going to go away," Meador said.

Depending on the year infections are rare, but it happens. 

It's something Conley Phipps knows firsthand. 

He lost his dad to it in 2012.
Phipps said his dad was a tough guy and that it was unbelievable to lose him to a mosquito bite.

He said many people often think of the diseases as a far-fetched idea. 

He used to think that way too. 

"I had kind of heard of West Nile, but it was something that was never gonna happen to my family,” Phipps said. 

His dad, Conley Phipps senior, caught the virus and his condition deteriorated fast.

Phipps said, “he was just shaking uncontrollably from head to toe."

Days later, his father was in a coma. 

The disease attacked his nervous system then spread to his brain. 

"I think people are a little more vigilant about West Nile and what that can do to a person," Phipps said.

Underestimating the threat isn't the way to go. 

He takes extra precaution and wants everyone else to take them too.

Tulsa County health experts say if you see standing water or a mosquito problem to give them a call.