Ok. Reports 8 Human Cases in West Nile Virus Update

Oklahoma City, OK – During the past week, four new human cases of West Nile disease have been reported and confirmed, bringing the state's total to eight so far in 2002. There have been no human deaths from the disease carried by mosquitoes so far, and all victims are reported to be recovering although one remains in the hospital. The new cases include a 69 year-old woman from Muskogee County, a 50 year-old man from Okmulgee County, a 67 year-old man from Pushmataha County and a 69 year-old woman from Oklahoma County. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, corresponding with reports of the increase in human cases, the number of confirmations in birds and horses are up as well. As of October 11 there were 353 birds collected from 30 counties across the state testing positive for West Nile. And the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Foresty reports 349 cases of West Nile encephalitis in horses in 63 Oklahoma counties. There is a vaccine for horses but not yet one for humans. Health experts say to help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, empty standing water in your yard. And avoid outdoor activities in the hours around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Wearing long sleeves, long pants and insect repellant containing DEET also are recommended. For more information, check the state health department website at www.health.state.ok.us.