Oklahoma stat health officials have put the human West Nile virus (WNV) case count to six after Oklahoma County reported their 2nd case late last week.
The first cases for 2015 have been confirmed in Custer, Ellis, Okfuskee, Oklahoma and McIntosh county residents. There have been no deaths. Persons are at greatest risk of exposure to infected mosquitoes from July through October in our state. Persons of any age can become ill after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but those over the age of 50 are at greater risk of developing serious illness involving the nervous system.
Over 80% of people infected with the virus never become ill. If people do become ill, most cases are mild with symptoms such as a fever, headache, tiredness and body aches that go away on their own. Some people may develop a rash on the trunk of the body. In more severe cases, persons can develop meningitis or other neurologic disease.
Health officials warn the mosquito population boom that has resulted from the excessive recent rainfall does not foretell a more severe WNV season.
Since WNV was introduced into Oklahoma, there have been 3 outbreak years – 2003, 2007 and 2012. Each of these seasons were characterized by higher than normal summer temperatures and drought.