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Record number of West Nile cases growing
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Record number of West Nile cases growing

Record number of West Nile cases growing

Record number of West Nile cases growing

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is now reporting 133 confirmed cases statewide of the West Nile virus in 2012. 

Thirty of those cases are in Tulsa County, although no new Tulsa County cases were reported today.

133 is a record number of West Nile cases in a single year in Oklahoma.

The previous record for Oklahoma West Nile virus cases was 107 in 2007.

The Oklahoma Health Department says eight people have died from the virus so far in 2012.

State health officials are asking Oklahomans over the age of 65 and those who care for them to use special care as the most severe result of West Nile virus most often affects the elderly.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health suggests using an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Products with a higher percentage of DEET as an active ingredient generally give longer protection.

Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes, but the product should not be sprayed on skin. 

Recently, IR3535 was approved as an active ingredient.

Regardless of what product you use, if insects are still biting, you should reapply the product according to label instructions, try a different product, or leave the area with biting insects.

The OSDH offered these insect repellent recommendations:

  • Products containing up to 30 percent DEET can be used on children
  • Use aerosols or pump sprays for skin and treating clothing because they provide even application
  • Use liquids, creams, lotions, towelettes or sticks for more precise application to exposed skin, e.g., face or neck
  • After your outdoor activity, wash repellent-treated skin with soap and water
  • Don’t over apply or saturate skin or clothing
  • Don’t apply to skin under clothing. Don’t apply more frequently than directed on the product label

The Oklahoma State Department of Health also reminds Oklahomans to empty those items in your yard that can hold standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.

Birdbaths and animal watering areas should be cleaned and refilled every two to three days, or treated with mosquito dunks to kill mosquito larvae.

Finally, double check your window and door screens to make sure they are in good shape and can keep mosquitoes out.

About half of the cases reported are serious illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control considers those the best indicator of West Nile activity because many mild cases do not get reported and their symptoms may not be recognized.

Typical symptoms are fever, headache and body aches and most people get better on their own in a few days.

Less than one percent develop neurological symptoms such as stiff necks and even coma and paralysis.

Health officials think that West Nile activity will peak in mid-to-late August, but likely will continue through October.

Because symptoms can take two weeks to appear, reporting cases lags behind when people became infected.

The disease first appeared in the United States in 1999.

Officials say this year's early spring and hot summer may have contributed to the current boom in cases.

Mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and then spread the virus to people they bite.

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  • We have updated information regarding mosquito traps testing positive for West Nile in Tulsa County. The Tulsa Health Department reports they tested around 1,772 mosquitoes over the last week for the virus and three traps tested positive. For reference, there has been two human cases of the virus in Tulsa County so far this year.  State wide, seven people have tested positive for the virus. Remember to wear spray with DEET, when going outdoors.  
  • We're in for an uncomfortable day weather wise in the Tulsa area. It will be a good idea to stay close to an air conditioner and drink plenty of fluids.   “Saturday looks fairly hot and humid,” National Weather Service said.  “Highs up into the mid 90s.  The heat index values will be in the 100 to 105 degree range during the afternoon.” We do have a slight chance for thunderstorms during the late afternoon hours. There is no rain in the forecast for Sunday.  NWS reports the high will be around 95 degrees, with plenty of sun.  
  • The state unemployment rate edged up to 4.4 percent in July. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday that the sharpest decline was in the manufacturing industry, which lost 1,400 jobs. The commission says an increase in total employment of 242 was offset by an overall decline of 5,445 in the number of jobless, while the number in the total labor force fell by 5,200. The rate stayed steady at 4.3 percent for of each of the previous four months. The national unemployment rate fell from 4.4 percent in June to 4.3 percent in July.
  • Earth yet again sizzled with unprecedented heat last month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday Earth sweated to its second hottest month since recordkeeping began in 1880. At 61.89 degrees (16.63 Celsius), last month was behind July 2016's all-time record by .09 degrees. But Earth's land temperatures in July were the hottest on record at 59.96 degrees (15.5 Celsius), passing July 2016's by one-seventh of a degree. Land measurements are important because that's where we live, said NOAA climate scientist Jake Crouch. Earlier this week, NASA calculated that July 2017 was a tad hotter than 2016, making it essentially a tie for all-time hottest month. NASA uses a newer set of ocean measurements and includes estimates for the Arctic unlike NOAA. Record heat was reported in Africa, Australia, parts of Asia, the Middle East and the Indian ocean, Crouch said. 'There is simply no denying the mounting evidence globally and regionally - the new climate normal is upon us now,' said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado, who wasn't part of the new report.
  • A dog lost two years ago in a massive windstorm has been reunited with its owner, KHQ reported. Shanley Heinsma let her husky, Shadow, out of the house during the storm in Spokane, Washington. That was the last time she saw the dog. Heinsma posted the dog’s photo on Facebook and put up posters hoping that someone might have found it. Last Wednesday, she saw a post for a missing husky, and it had Shadow’s distinctive markings. “I told my fiance, I'm like, there's just no way right? It's been so long,' she told KHQ. After comparing photographs, it turned out to be the missing dog. Shadow and Heinsma are back together. 'Other people that lose their animals, don't ever give up,' she told KHQ. 'The more you get your word out there the more people that know you're searching.