Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 17, 2012

West Nile virus hitting Oklahoma hard

STILLWATER, Okla. — According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health website, there have been 61 cases of West Nile virus and three resulting deaths this year.

Thursday, Stillwater Medical Center representative Shyla Eggers said they have not diagnosed a case of West Nile virus at the hospital. However, one hospitalization has taken place as a result of West Nile in Payne County this year, according to the OSDH.

Beyond human impact, the virus also poses potential problems to horses.

Coordinator of Public Relations with the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences Derinda Blakeney said they have not seen any cases of the virus at the teaching hospital. However, that doesn’t mean precautions shouldn’t be taken.

“Now is a great time to vaccinate, so it’s not too late,” Blakeney said.

Prevention is all about mosquito control, she said.

“Avoid any standing water, use insect control products on horses, keep them inside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are worst and vaccinate,” Blakeney said. “There are several products on the market and horse owners should consult their veterinarians.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin urges Oklahomans to be aware of the virus and to take preventive measures.

“This disease has hit Oklahomans hard this year and unfortunately, those who seem to be most at risk are older citizens,” Fallin said.

She asks residents to check with those over the age of 50 to make sure they are taking precautions.

“Oklahomans are or will soon be gearing up for nighttime outdoor activities like high school football games, athletic practices, lakeside camping, gardening and evening jogs,” Fallin said. “Farmers and those who work outside are particularly susceptible to the disease. Everyone in these circumstances must be sure to take proper precautions.”


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