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July 11, 2014

Oklahoma's first confirmed West Nile case is Major County resident

ENID, Okla. — The state’s first West Nile virus case of the year has been confirmed in Major County, west of Enid.

Few details were available from Carla Dionne, the regional director for the Garfield County, Major County, Grant County and Alfalfa County health departments.

“Major County is a really, really small county and we’re very concerned about privacy issues regarding the patient,” Dionne said. “Just because it is such a small county and it would be so easy to personally identify the individual, we are being asked not to release anything additional.”

She would not confirm if the infected person was hospitalized, but did say the case was serious enough to come to the attention of health department officials through positive lab results.

Officials at Fairview Regional Medical Center, in Major County, were not aware of an individual being hospitalized with West Nile virus at the facility.

There has been one death related to the virus in the U.S. this year, according to information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

CDC reports show there have been 18 cases of West Nile virus in the country, a figure that did not include the Oklahoma case.

As of Tuesday, there had been nine cases in California, three in South Dakota, two in Mississippi and one each in Arizona, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.

The death occurred in Missouri.

Last year, there were eight deaths attributed to the virus in Oklahoma and a total of 84 confirmed cases.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of the Culex mosquito, according to an Oklahoma State Department of Health press release.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness, the release stated.

Dionne said it is recommended that individuals use insect repellent with DEET.

“Spray when you go out, keep a bottle by the door,” she said, adding that high risk periods of the day are early in the morning and around dusk.

She advised keeping doors closed and repairing window screens to keep mosquitoes out of residences.

“I know we’ve had a lot of rain lately,” Dionne said. “Where you have control over the standing water around your home, definitely go out and empty those buckets, or cans or tires. Make sure there is just no standing water left at all, if you can.”

She advised changing the water in dog water bowls daily.

Rain gutters that are not draining, due to leaves or tree limbs, can also be a bad source, she said.

“Clearing those out is going to clear out the mosquito factor around your immediate home,” she said.

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