NORMAN — The West Nile virus caused record numbers of deaths and illnesses in 2012 in Oklahoma and parts of Texas. In 2012, 176 Oklahomans contracted West Nile and 15 died.
In 2013, the state health department has only confirmed one case. It involves a female Oklahoma County resident between the ages of 10 and 19. A year earlier, there were already 61 cases and three deaths reported.
Scientists first detected West Nile in 1999. The Centers for Disease Control reports the risk of being infected with WNV can be reduced by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness, according to the CDC.