OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The number of new West Nile virus cases in Oklahoma has increased by four since last week and no additional deaths have been recorded, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said Tuesday.
The number of cases rose from 61 on Thursday to 65 on Tuesday, the two days each week that the department reports West Nile activity.
Health Department epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed said a public health warning about the virus remains in place.
“It’s too early to say if we’re seeing a decline (in new cases) at this time,” Burnsed said. “There are still more reports that are still under investigation,” as possible West Nile Virus.
The department said 44 of the 65 cases have been the neuro-invasive form, the most severe form, which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and can lead to mental confusion, disorientation, blindness, paralysis and death.
The West Nile Virus was first confirmed in Oklahoma in 2002 and the Health Department reports a total of 837 cases and 23 deaths since then.
The record number of cases, 107, occurred in 2007 when there were eight deaths attributed to the disease.
There is no vaccine or medications to treat West Nile Virus. Treatments usually involve managing the symptoms, such as treating a fever, preventing secondary infections and providing intravenous fluids, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.