First human cases of West Nile Virus in Oklahoma reported

Oklahoma has four reported human cases of the West Nile virus, and one is considered severe.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 3:41 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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OKLAHOMA (KXII) - Oklahoma has four reported human cases of the West Nile virus, and one is considered severe.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported that infected pools of mosquitos had been found in central, south central, and southeast portions of the state.

The virus is spread by the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds before spreading the virus to humans through their bites.

“About 20% of infections lead to a mild kind of flu like presentation,” said Kendra Dougherty, Director of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Response with the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Dougherty says these cases usually don’t require medical intervention, but rest and fluids are necessary. However, severe cases require hospitalization for higher level treatment like IV hydration, she says “it’s to help manage their symptoms and/or their body systems.”

OSDH officials recommend the public to take precautions to avoid being bit, including using repellant and getting rid of standing water on their property.

The health department said that most people who contract West Nile Virus never experience any symptoms, with most symptoms often being mild, including a sudden fever and headache.

OSDH warned that people over 50, diabetics, and people with uncontrolled hypertension have a greater risk of developing a severe neurological disease from West Nile Virus.

The Centers for Disease Control says that severe symptoms can include, disorientation, neck stiffness, paralysis, and coma.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile Virus.