Cooler temps, rain may increase West Nile risk

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - State health officials say recent rains and cooler temperatures in Oklahoma may increase the risk of contracting West Nile virus.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline said Thursday that the milder temperatures will likely lead more people to go outdoors and increase their exposure to the Culex mosquito - which spreads the virus through its bite. And Cline said rain in parts of the state also increase the risk by providing standing water that the mosquito uses as a breeding ground.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said Thursday that there are seven new cases of West Nile virus to bring the total number of cases in 2012 to 72.

Three Oklahomans have died from the illness.

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