TULSA — The Tulsa Health Department says the first case of West Nile virus this season has been confirmed in Tulsa County.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health also announced two additional cases in Grant and Canadian counties, bringing the total number of cases in the state to three in 2019.
WNV is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and transmits the virus when biting humans, horses and some other mammals.
“While this case was not caused by the recent floodwaters, we do anticipate increased numbers of mosquitoes this season because of all the standing water that remains,” said THD Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “West Nile virus was confirmed in mosquitoes in Tulsa County in early May, and we expect to encounter more positive trap locations throughout the county this season. Everyone can take steps to reduce standing water and protect themselves against mosquito bites to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus.”
Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness. Long-lasting complications can include migraine headaches, difficulty concentrating, extreme muscle weakness and tremors and paralysis of a limb.
Take the following precautions against mosquito bites:
• Dump and drain items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
• Use an insect repellent containing DEET or other CDC approved repellents on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.)
• Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
• Encourage your friends and neighbors to dump and drain and to use repellents.
• Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.
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