Tulsa Health Department officials today announce a confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Tulsa County. This is the first confirmed human case to be reported in Tulsa County this season, and the second case statewide. In July, Oklahoma State Department of Health officials announced the first case had been confirmed in a resident of Major County. Residents are urged to continue to take precaution against WNV as months with the highest risk for exposure to WNV are the months of July through October.
Anyone residing in an area where WNV is present is at risk for exposure; however, approximately 80% of individuals infected with the virus will have no symptoms. In mid-July, department officials confirmed that a sampling of mosquitoes from Tulsa County tested positive for WNV. Of the 486 trap samples tested this season, five different mosquito traps have been confirmed positive for WNV in Tulsa County to date.
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and then transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and some other mammals. Symptoms of WNV include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb. If one or more of these symptoms develop, especially after suffering mosquito bites within the previous two weeks, a health care provider should be contacted. Persons over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV infection. Some of the neurological effects of WNV may be permanent. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.