The Oklahoma Department of Health officially confirmed two deaths in Carter County have been attributed to West Nile Virus Tuesday. There have been eight hospitalizations as well, making Carter County the most afflicted of Oklahoma counties per capita. There have been five deaths recorded this year. Two in Oklahoma County and one in Seminole County in addition to the two in Carter County.

The Oklahoma Department of Health officially confirmed two deaths in Carter County have been attributed to West Nile Virus Tuesday. There have been eight hospitalizations as well, making Carter County the most afflicted of Oklahoma counties per capita. There have been five deaths recorded this year. Two in Oklahoma County and one in Seminole County in addition to the two in Carter County.

 

Mendy Spohn, Carter County Healdton Department Administrator, said the names of the victims could not be released because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws. An obituary for Bill Brady, 77, of Healdton submitted to The Ardmoreite for the Sunday edition stated he was a victim of WNV.

 

“Both of these cases are people that are older than 70,” Spohn said. “They were both active outside with gardening, walking and ranching. It is so sad that these people were active and enjoyed being outside and now we have to worry about this mosquito issue.”

 

Spohn said the threat of WNV is expected to be present until October or the first big freeze. Senior citizens are particularly at risk to WNV.

 

“We are seeing a trend in older adults, especially over the age of 65 and we are most definitely looking at people with compromised immune systems,” Spohn said. “Anybody that it outside has exposure to WNV, but those are the ones with a larger risk.”

 

In an effort to combat exposure to WNV, the health department is recommending killing mosquitoes at the larvae level. Areas with standing water are particularly vulnerable to housing larvae. Agriculture stores have products available, which can help thwart larvae and mosquito issues.

 

Spohn said the health department has reached out to schools and has recommended spraying stations for upcoming football games. She noted that spraying is not the only answer for cities and citizens can be proactive.

 

“We recommend cleaning out storm drains and those type of abatements processes,” she said. “High grass areas can also house larvae. They are not always in a standing pool.”

 

Spohn said the health department doesn’t have any real answers in regard to why Carter County has more reports of WNV than other counties.

 

“I will say it was in 2007, we had the highest number of West Nile Virus cases in the state,” Spohn said. “There are so many components about this disease. It is still new and we are learning.”