State Health Department: West Nile Virus Kills 3 In Oklahoma


Thursday, August 16th 2012, 11:16 am
By: News On 6


The number of people who've died in Oklahoma after being infected with West Nile Virus has increased to three.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports one person died in Seminole County and two people died in Oklahoma County. Another 38 people have been hospitalized with the disease.

8/15/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma On Pace For Worst West Nile Virus Cases In State History

State epidemiologists warn this summer could be the worst WNV season in Oklahoma history. The last severe outbreak was in 2007. Twenty Oklahomans died and 107 people became sick.

Governor Mary Fallin is urging Oklahomans to "fight the bite" by taking personal precautions to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.

"This disease has hit Oklahomans hard this year and unfortunately, those who seem to be most at risk are older citizens. If you know persons who might be at particular risk, such as parents or grandparents over age 50, please check with them to make certain they are taking precautions,  In addition, anyone spending significant time outdoors must also make certain to use insect repellent and carry it with them for reapplication if necessary.

Oklahomans are or will soon be gearing up for night-time outdoor activities like high school football games, athletic practices, lakeside camping, gardening and evening jogs. Farmers and those who work outside are particularly susceptible to the disease. Everyone in these circumstances must be sure to take proper precautions."

Health experts say the best way to avoid West Nile Virus is to avoid mosquito bites. People can do that by following several simple steps:

  • Wear insect repellant containing an active ingredient such as 10% to 30% DEET
  • Prevent items such as buckets and tarps from holding standing water.
  • Empty your outdoor pet's water bowl and refill daily.
  • Rinse, scrub, and refill birdbaths weekly.
  • Empty plastic wading pools weekly and store indoors when not in use.
  • Maintain swimming pools and outdoor hot tubs regularly as recommended by manufacturer.
  • Store boats covered or upside down.

Learn more about protecting yourself from West Nile Virus