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West Nile Virus Death Confirmed In Oklahoma County
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports the first death from West Nile in the state since 2009. The department will not release specific information about the case but says the victim is a man in Oklahoma County, over the age of 75. The Health Department also reports 55 confirmed cases of the virus in the state so far this year. So the big question now is, should people panic?
The Oklahoma Srare Department of Health issued a "Public Health Warning" for West Nile Virus after the recent death in the state. However, health officials say that does not mean people should panic.
"I don't see any mosquitoes really compared to the mosquitoes that we have there," said Catherine Hutchison. "You can be really swamped with mosquitoes."
Catherine Hutchison moved to the United States from West Africa around 10 years ago. Hutchison says Malaria is very common where she's from. She even contracted it once.
"I lost weight, you run to the bathroom, it's a horrible feeling," said Hutchison. "You can't eat, you can't do anything."
Because of her experience with mosquitoes and Malaria in her home country, Hutchison says she's not concerned about the recent cases of West Nile in Oklahoma.
"I'm really not scared," said Hutchison.
However, other people like Chamerry Torres are panicking.
"To the point that I don't let my daughter go out, you know, to go out and play or anything like that," said Torres. "And that's kind of sad, you know."
"People should not panic," said Kimberly Southerland.
Kimberly Southerland, an Epidemiologist with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department says it's very rare to get West Nile.
"Most people who are infected with West Nile do not go on to develop symptoms," said Southerland. "Only 20-percent of people who are infected will go on to develop mild symptoms known as West Nile Fever."
Southerland says it's even more rare to die from it.
"Less than one-percent will develop neuroinvasive disease and even a smaller percentage of that will go on to die from this illness," said Southerland.
However, Southerland says people should still take precautions.
"Wearing mosquito repellent that contains Deet," said Southerland. "Avoiding going outside during dawn and dusk. You know, early in the morning / late at night, when mosquitoes are most active and most likely to bite."
Even though the Health Department does not want people to get too scared about West Nile, Torres says the fear has already hit home for her.
"No matter how much anybody says not to panic, people are still going to panic," said Torres.
For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the following website: http://www.ok.gov/health/Disease,_Prevention,_Preparedness/Acute_Disease_Service/Disease_Information/Tickborne_and_Mosquitoborne_Diseases/West_Nile_Virus/
FOX 25 NEWS
Posted: Tuesday, August 14 2012, 09:51 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Teen in devastated Okla. town handing out hugs
May 25, 2013 02:26 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- The people of the Oklahoma town where a deadly tornado struck could use just about everything -- cleaning supplies, food, water, shelter.
Thirteen-year-old Halle Carr thought residents of her hometown could also use a hug after the twister Monday that killed 24 people in Moore.
Halle has been standing on a corner with a white sign that reads: "Need a hug? I am here!" And people are taking her up on the offer.
On Friday, people in work trucks, cars and vans loaded with belongings rolled down their windows and reached out their arms to the girl. Some shouted words of encouragement.
Halle said it makes her feel good to spread a little cheer. She said she'll come out every day, as long as she thinks she's needed.
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