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First Human Case of West Nile Confirmed in Tulsa County

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TULSA, OK - [June 7, 2019] – Tulsa Health Department officials today announce a confirmed human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in Tulsa County. This is the first confirmed human case to be reported in Tulsa County this season. The Oklahoma State Department of Health also announced today a human case in Grant and Canadian counties, bringing the total to three WNV cases in the state for 2019. Residents are urged to continue to take precaution against WNV as months with the highest risk for exposure to WNV are the months of July through October. 

Anyone residing in an area where WNV is present is at risk for exposure; however, approximately 80% of individuals infected with the virus will have no symptoms. In early May, health department officials confirmed that a sampling of mosquitoes from Tulsa County tested positive for WNV. Of the 106 trap samples tested this season, 1 mosquito trap has been confirmed positive for WNV in Tulsa County to date. 

“While this case was not caused by the recent floodwaters, we do anticipate increased numbers of mosquitoes this season because of all the standing water that remains,” said Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “West Nile virus was confirmed in mosquitoes in Tulsa County in early May, and we expect to encounter more positive trap locations throughout the county this season. Everyone can take steps to reduce standing water and protect themselves against mosquito bites to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus.” 

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and then transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and some other mammals. Symptoms of WNV include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb. If one or more of these symptoms develop, especially after suffering mosquito bites within the previous two weeks, a health care provider should be contacted. Persons over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV infection. Some of the neurological effects of WNV may be permanent. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.