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West Nile virus cases nearing record high in U.S. state of Oklahoma

09-01-2012 05:33 BJT

HOUSTON, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. state of Oklahoma is close to seeing a record number of West Nile virus cases this year, with 101 cases confirmed so far, local media reported on Friday.

The state reported a record 107 West Nile infections in 2007, according to local daily newspaper Tulsa World.

Health authorities expected this year's West Nile cases in Oklahoma to break the 2007 record.

"It appears we will shatter that record, since West Nile virus will be with us until the first freeze," State Health Commissioner Terry Cline was quoted as saying.

Cline encouraged residents to guard against mosquito bites by using insect repellents, and to empty standing water from items in their yards to deny mosquitoes possible breeding places.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health has already issued a public health warning due to this year's surge in West Nile virus cases.

This year is also the worst year for West Nile nationally since the virus was discovered in the United States in 1999, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Arkansas State Department of Health has confirmed that West Nile virus cases are on the rise in the state.

Texas, which tops the list in both total cases and fatalities, is battling a major outbreak of the epidemic. A total of 17 people have died from the virus and 465 more have been sickened across the state so far this year.

Earlier this week, health officials reported that there are now 1,590 cases of West Nile virus confirmed in humans across the United States, including 66 deaths.

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


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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