|Updated: 8/30/2012 10:11 am
||Published: 8/29/2012 6:05 pm
The United States is seeing a record number of cases of the West Nile Virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a 40% increase in just the past week.
Nearly 1,600 nationwide have now been confirmed this year including 66 deaths. In Oklahoma alone there have been 92 cases and five deaths this year.
These are the worst numbers since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.
Some parents are worried about how to best-protect their kids.
"If you notice this drain, if it's not draining right or we have any pools of water, we have mosquitoes all around here," said Jennifer Lyness.
She is worried about mosquitoes breeding around her home and spreading the potentially deadly virus.
“We have a really hard time when we come out with the kids in the yard," she said.
Lyness is a mother of four active kids who are often outdoors. She says at anytime she or her kids could have two or three mosquitoes on their arm.
"It's really important to us because we have a dear family friend that was in the hospital, that almost didn't make it last year," Lyness told FOX23.
It's an image that sticks with her.
"It was horrible. The effects of it are still lingering, really bad, unexplained headaches, muscle aches and he may have them for the rest of his life," she said.
23 of the 92 cases in Oklahoma are in Tulsa County. The Tulsa County Health Department recommends using the mosquito repellent with DEET when outdoors.
Lyness said she won’t use it.
"We try not to use the DEET products because we're afraid of some of the effects," she said.
The mother of four says she’s read studies that could link DEET with future fertility problems.
"With the chances of the West Nile virus being so bad in our area, it's scary," said Lyness.
However, a Tulsa pediatrician told FOX23 he hasn't seen those reports. He says mosquito repellent with 10% DEET or less is perfectly safe for kids.