Oklahoma West Nile virus death toll reaches eight

Eight people have died in Oklahoma as a result of West Nile virus this year. The state has broken its record for highest number of cases reported since the virus entered the U.S. in 1999.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: September 11, 2012

A Tulsa County man older than 65 is the eighth state resident to die this year because of West Nile virus, according to state Health Department data released Tuesday.

Since the beginning of the year, 127 cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed by the state Health Department.

Of the confirmed deaths, two were in Oklahoma County, three were in Tulsa County, one was in Seminole County and two were in Carter County.

Public health officials have recommended that residents take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

West Nile virus is caused by a bite from an infected mosquito. More than 80 percent of people who are bitten by an infected mosquito do not contract the virus.

Of the people who become sick, most develop West Nile fever, with symptoms of headache, fever and fatigue, according to the health department. People older than 50 are at the highest risk of developing severe neurological disease after being infected with West Nile virus.

Nationwide, 1,993 cases have been reported so far this year, the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the first week in September since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.

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