Health Officials Say This Could Be Worst West Nile Year In State

Saturday, September 29th 2007, 7:02 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ State health officials say an increased number of mosquitoes mean more Oklahomans will likely be infected by West Nile virus than in previous years.

So far this year, 73 people in Oklahoma have become infected from the mosquito-borne virus and five have died. The record for number of infections in the state is 79, set in 2003, and the highest death toll from the disease came in 2006, when six people in the state died.

West Nile virus began being reported in Oklahoma in 2002.

State epidemiologist Kristy Bradley says 70% of Oklahomans infected with West Nile this year have been hospitalized.

She says heavy rains and flooding this summer in Oklahoma, followed by hot, dry weather, contributed to an increase in the numbers of Culex mosquitoes.