McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

September 27, 2013

West Nile virus kills county man

ENID, Okla. — Garfield County Health Department confirmed Thursday a Garfield County man in his 80s is the second Oklahoma resident to die from West Nile virus so far this year.

“We are saddened about this loss and our sympathies go out to the family,” said Chad Newton, administrative director of Garfield County Health Department. “This death reminds us that while most people who acquire West Nile virus may report little or no illness symptoms, tragically for some, the results can be fatal.”

Newton asked county residents to continue to use mosquito repellent, empty containers that hold stagnant water and provide places for mosquitoes to breed, and make sure window and door screens are secure. WNV season extends through mid-November in Oklahoma, Newton said.

Pamela Williams, spokeswoman for Oklahoma Department of Health, said the man was hospitalized when he died. One other Garfield County resident this year was hospitalized with WNV, but that case was not fatal, Williams said.

So far this year, 31 WNV cases have been reported in Oklahoma, with the first death from the mosquito-borne disease earlier this month. That victim was an Oklahoma County woman in her 70s, the state health department said.

The virus was first recorded in Oklahoma in 2002, when 15 cases were confirmed. It reached a high for the state last year, when 178 cases were confirmed and 15 people died.

For information on WNV prevention, go to www.health.ok.gov.

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