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Oklahoma reports first death of West Nile virus this year

08-15-2012 03:07 BJT

HOUSTON, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The health department of the U.S. state of Oklahoma confirmed on Tuesday the first death of the West Nile virus in the state this year.

According to the reports on the website of the state's English daily The Oklahoman, the department did not disclose the name of the man and when he died, but detailed that the more than 80-year- old man lived in the Oklahoma county, which has already seen 12 reported cases of the West Nile virus so far.

Oklahoma recorded 24 such cases in the past week. Overall, there have been 55 such cases confirmed in 14 counties this year with Tulsa County reporting 14 cases, Carter County at nine and Pittsburgh County at seven.

Residents who have contracted the virus this year have ranged in age from 12 to 90, and the department has warned that people older than 50 are at the highest risk of developing the most severe symptoms.

The virus' season runs from May to November, health department officials do not expect the virus cases to peak until September or early October.

The West Nile virus, first identified in Uganda in 1937, is a mosquito-borne illness that can lead to serious neurological disease in some cases, and its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Commonly seen in temperate and tropical regions, the West Nile virus mainly infects birds, but is also known to infect human bodies mainly through mosquito biting. Scientists say about 80 percent of infections are symptomless. The World Health Organization said that treatment of this virus often involves hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support and prevention of secondary infections.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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