Oklahoma’s public health warning concerning West Nile virus continues as the recent West Nile virus case total has jumped to 118, the highest number of cases ever recorded in a single year in Oklahoma. Two additional deaths have also been reported, for a total of seven.
State health officials warn that favorable conditions continue for the spread of WNV. Using insect repellent when outdoors, draining standing water from items in the yard that mosquitoes can use to breed, and assuring doors and window screens are in good repair are essential to “fighting the bite” to help prevent West Nile virus.
“Our surveillance findings clearly show that Oklahoma adults over the age of 40 are at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill after an encounter with a mosquito carrying West Nile virus,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “We continue to urge people in this age group to heed the warning and regularly practice their personal protection methods. Something as simple as using mosquito repellent can spare you from a life changing disease.”
Oklahomans are urged to “fight the bite” and take the following precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites:
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.)
- Place mosquito repellent in a handy and visible location in the home for easy access.
- Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Prevent items such as buckets, cans, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
- Empty, clean and refill your bird baths and pet’s outdoor water bowl daily.
- Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.
For more information on WNV prevention, visit www.health.ok.gov, or call your local county health department.