West Nile Virus Claims 9th Oklahoma Victim

CDC Calls WNV 'Unpredictable'

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West Nile Virus Claims 9th Oklahoma Victim
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West Nile Fever is an infection caused by West Nile virus, which is spread to people by the bite of a …

John Archer, 78, of Muskogee, Okla., succumbed to the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, WNV, becoming the fourth case of the illness in Muskogee County and the ninth death in the state. Archer was hospitalized with WNV July 13; by the next day he was on a ventilator and remained hospitalized until his death on Monday, according toNewson6.com .

Archer's passing is among the 147 deaths nationwide attributed to West Nile virus.

Oklahoma West Nile Virus Statistics

The Oklahoma State Department of Health updates its WNV statistics each Tuesday and Thursday. Since Jan. 1 of this year, 154 cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in the state with 88 of those illnesses requiring hospitalization. Three counties, Carter, Oklahoma and Tulsa, have experienced double-digit figures for the number of residents hospitalized due to WNV.

Seventy-five of the total WNV cases have been the West Nile virus fever, or non-neuroinvasive form of the illness and 79 have been the more serious neuroinvasive form. According to the information provided by OSDH, the number of people who've developed the neuroinvasive form of West Nile virus is lowest in the youngest age groups and climbs incrementally with each age bracket until reaching 80-plus years. The age groups from ages 40 years to 80-plus years represent 128 of the total 154 cases of WNV.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in a perspective article published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine that West Nile virus in the United States is in its adolescence, having first been identified in this country in 1999. The CDC described WNV as being unpredictable, difficult to control and disagreeable.

The federal agency noted that the 3,545 cases reported nationwide this year will likely make 2012's WNV outbreak among the record holders.

The national ArboNET system is monitoring all reports of WNV found in humans, insects and animals, making it the only such system to do so. Even with the information-gathering abilities of the system and the CDC's expertise in analyzing such data, the CDC stated it is unable to predict the distribution and incidence of West Nile virus for next year.

Neuroinvasive Form of West Nile Virus

In its perspective article, the CDC explained that 10 percent of the neuroinvasive form of WNV cases have resulted in death. In those people who survive this form of the infection, there are often permanent impairments, particularly for those people who experienced encephalitis or paralysis during the WNV infection.

The Difficulties of Developing a Treatment for West Nile Virus

Any treatment that might be developed must go through three stages of clinical trials to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of that treatment. The CDC reported that due to the sporadic nature of the illness, no trial attempted thus far has been able to secure an adequate number of participants to run a study. At this time there remains no treatment for West Nile virus, only for its symptoms, and there is no treatment predicted on the immediate horizon.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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