The state Health Department on Thursday reported five additional cases of West Nile virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state this year to 160.
Oklahoma and the rest of the nation have seen a record-breaking number of West Nile virus cases this year.
West Nile was first identified in the U.S. in 1999. The previous worst year for the virus in Oklahoma was in 2007, when nine deaths and 107 cases were confirmed. There have also been nine deaths this year.
Thus far this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 3,969 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in the contiguous United States. This is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the first week in October since 2003.
People contract West Nile virus when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The virus is not spread through human-to-human contact. Horses and birds are also susceptible to West Nile virus, along with some other livestock.
West Nile virus causes two separate types of illness: West Nile fever, and serious neurologic disease. Symptoms of West Nile fever include fever, headache, nausea, muscle weakness and body aches that usually last between two and six days, but sometimes longer.
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