A record-breaking number of Oklahomans were sickened and died from the West Nile virus last year, but that trend has not repeated so far in 2013, a state health official said.
Two Oklahoma County residents have contracted West Nile this year, a fraction of the number of cases Oklahoma saw last year.
In 2012, 176 people were sickened and 15 died after contracting West Nile.
State epidemiologist Kristy Bradley said she expected a low number of cases this year.
“When we look at our pattern of incidence following previous outbreak seasons in 2003 and 2007, you tend to see a sharp decline the next season immediately following an outbreak year, and then the virus starts to build up again, and reach an epidemic threshold approximately every three to four years,” Bradley said. “Of course, there's a confluence of factors that influence that.”
For example, weather can influence the prevalence of mosquitoes.
Bradley said this summer is a sharp contrast from last year. Oklahoma has experienced milder temperatures and had more rainfall.
Last summer's hotter temperatures, with less rainfall, meant there were more stagnant pools of water that mosquitoes could use to breed.
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