State health officials on Friday said they expect to see a spike in cases of the West Nile virus, while one doctor said the uptick in cases at local hospitals is reminiscent of 2007, when the virus was at its worst in Oklahoma.
The state Health Department's most recent official West Nile report showed 14 cases confirmed statewide as of July 27.
Tulsa County leads the way with five cases, Pittsburg County has two, while Carter, Garfield, Hughes, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties have one each, according to the report.
Health Department officials said they are continuing to investigate potential West Nile cases.
Meanwhile, an Oklahoma City doctor who specializes in infectious diseases said Friday he believes the number of cases is even higher.
Dr. John Harkess, an infectious diseases consultant at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, said his hospital has seen “probably a dozen cases over the last two weeks.”
“This is more cases than I've seen, even when the outbreak first came here (in 2007),” he said.
Harkess said his colleagues at other Oklahoma City-area hospitals have reported similar recent increases in cases of West Nile, and that some of the patients have been very ill as a result.