West Nile Virus Continues to Plague Oklahoma

State Health Department Aims Toward Prevention of WNV and Influenza

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The mosquito-borne illness, West Nile virus, WNV, continues to make its presence known in several states, including Oklahoma. While the number of deaths attributed to the viral illness remains at eight in the Sooner State, the total number of cases has risen to 144, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health's bi-weekly update.

West Nile Virus in Oklahoma

Public health officials in Oklahoma continue warnings to residents to avoid mosquito bites, especially those age 50 and older who are more susceptible to the virus's effects. The highest rates of WNV infections of both the general viral infection and the more serious neuroinvasive form remain in the age group of 70 years of age and older.

Although the state health department is warning everyone to avoid exposure to WNV, people taking chemotherapy or who are immune-compromised should take special precautions, along with those people 50 and older.

How to Lessen Your Exposure to Mosquito Bites

OSDH continues to advise residents to limit their time outdoors, particularly during the periods of greatest mosquito activity, which is at dawn and dusk. If you must be outdoors, wear long sleeves and long pants and use an insect repellant that is DEET-based, or contains picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535.

Influenza Season About to Begin in Oklahoma

The state and local health departments have begun to ramp up their efforts to help Oklahoma residents avoid getting the flu in the coming months. Between July 29 and Sept. 1, one person was hospitalized with influenza. The state experienced 10 influenza-related deaths between Jan. 1 and July 28.

OSDH, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advise that all people 6 months of age and older become immunized against the flu, and to do so as soon as it is available in your community. For people age 65 and older, a "high dose" influenza vaccine is available. Children 9 years old and younger will need to get vaccinated twice, while everyone else will need only one vaccination. OSDH has provided a site map to help Oklahoma's residents find flu vaccination centers.

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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