SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

First case of West Nile confirmed in Oklahoma's Major County

The first case of West Nile virus was recently confirmed in Oklahoma's Major County, prompting state health officials to encourage residents to take precautions against contracting the virus.

Summertime generally marks the start of the season for the virus in the state due to increased outdoor activity. Last year, 84 cases of the West Nile virus were confirmed in Oklahoma, with eight deaths reported, according to a press release.

The virus is transmitted through bites from the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and transmits the virus through bites. Symptoms include sudden fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Additionally, the virus can cause long-term complications, including muscle weakness, tremors, paralysis of a limb, difficulty concentrating and migraine headaches. Individuals over the age of 50 are at greatest risk for developing severe neurological disease, and some effects may be permanent.

Residents are encouraged to prevent items from holding standing water, to use insect repellant on exposed skin and clothing, clean debris and leaves from gutters and repair or install window and door screens.