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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: _____, 2007
Contact: __________
_____ County Health Department
(Phone)

Oklahomans Hit Hard by West Nile Virus

Even though Oklahoma has begun to experience some fall-like weather, that does not mean Oklahomans no longer need to worry about protecting themselves against the threat of West Nile virus (WNV), the _____ County Health Department said today.

“We urge everyone to continue to practice mosquito prevention activities around your home and workplace,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____.

Currently, 73 human cases of WNV have been reported to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and five persons have died so far this season from the disease.

“If you are opening your doors and windows now to let in the cool night air, make sure screens are in good repair so mosquitoes cannot enter your home,” _____ cautioned. S/he also recommended the “4 Ds of Defense” for mosquito bite protection that include the following:

  • Dusk and dawn – Wear repellent if outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.
  • Dress – Wear long pants, long sleeves and closed toe shoes when outside to cover the skin.
  • DEET – Use an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) when outdoors and reapply according to directions.
  • Drain – Drain those items that collect standing water around your home, yard or business. Scrub and refill pet water dishes and bird baths regularly.

WNV is transmitted primarily by Culex mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are most active during the evening and early morning hours and can enter homes through open windows or doors. Common symptoms of West Nile disease include fever, intense headache, extreme tiredness, muscle weakness, and dizziness. Persons with West Nile encephalitis, the most serious form of WNV disease, may rapidly progress to mental confusion and difficulty walking.

For more information about WNV prevention, contact the _____ County Health Department at (phone number).

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