Growing concerns about West Nile Virus

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Reported by: MirandaChristian
Updated: 9/05/2012 9:23 am Published: 9/04/2012 8:37 pm

Never before has the problem reached this level: 118 cases of West Nile virus across Oklahoma.

Statewide, seven people have died from the virus, two of those deaths happened in Tulsa County.

"It’s a seasonal threat, typically from July to October," said Kaitlin Snider with the Tulsa Health Department.

The threat becomes a greater concern as more people spend time outside.

"Prevention is the best protection,” said Snider.

Snider said no one really knows why we're seeing so many mosquitoes with the virus.

"We are also watching that situation as well,” said EMSA spokeswoman Kelli Bruer.

Bruer said medics are now getting questions about the deadly virus on the streets. And in some cases, people are dialing 911 to ask about symptoms and prevention.

"We're not at this point seeing a huge influx in calls, but we do hear more people referencing mosquito bites," said Bruer.

Here's what you can do to prevent those bites: Limit your time outside, use bug spray containing DEET, and get rid of standing water around your house.

The Health Department said there's no need to panic, because developing the virus is quite rare.

"Adults 40 years and older are at a greater risk of contracting a more serious form of West Nile Virus.,” said Snider.

According to the Health Department, the youngest person to die from the virus in Tulsa County may have been in his 40's.

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