The Edmond Sun

State News

July 17, 2012

West Nile Virus detected in Pittsburg County

McALESTER — A case of West Nile virus confirmed in Pittsburg County is one of only two cases found statewide so far this year. The other case is in Tulsa County.

“Right now, it’s the only two counties we’re aware of,” said Becky Coffman, an epidemiologist at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The individual with the confirmed case of West Nile virus in Pittsburg County has been identified by the health department only as a man “in the age 65 or older category,” Coffman said.

While it’s not unheard of to have cases of West Nile virus found in Oklahoma in July, it is still early in the season, noted Pittsburg County Health Department Administrator Mike Echelle.

With only one case of West Nile virus reported in the entire state in 2011, the number of confirmed cases in Oklahoma has already doubled when compared to last year.

“We’re certainly wanting people to be warned about West Nile,” Echelle said.

Citing privacy concerns, Coffman said the health department would not release what part of Pittsburg County the man who has a confirmed case of West Nile virus is from, or even if he’s still in the hospital.

“West Nile virus is a virus that’s prevalent in our county,” Echelle said. “We’re going to have to contend with it every year. Individuals need to take precautions.”

In the decade that’s passed since confirmation that the illness had spread to Oklahoma in 2002, there have been 329 cases of the illness and 20 deaths reported in the state, according to the health department.

West Nile virus is spread by the bite of the Culex mosquito. The mosquito feeds on birds infected with the virus and then transmits the virus by biting humans, horses, as well as some other mammals, a health department report stated.

One of the best protections is prevention, according to health officials.

“The most dangerous time to be out is at dusk and dawn,” Coffman said.

“If you’re out at dusk or dawn, wear long sleeves.”

Use a mosquito or insect repellent that contains DEET, Echelle advised. Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only, according to the health department.

Coffman also urged individuals to make sure there is no free-standing water around, such as in containers, cans, buckets or even disposable cups.

“Empty your animal’s water every day,” she suggested.

Also make sure window screens are in good repair, Coffman added — meaning make sure there are no openings big enough for mosquitoes to crawl through.

For those who have bird baths, ornamental ponds, fountains, or other items with water, a larvicide is available from most home improvement stores, according to Echelle and Coffman. The larvicides are designed to get rid of the mosquito larvae, but animals and birds can still drink the water, they said.

Leaves and other debris should be regularly cleared from rain gutters to make sure they are not clogged, health personnel advised.

Referring to the steps to reduce the threat of standing water and other precautions, Coffman said every resident should be doing this.

“These mosquitoes don’t fly great distances,” she said.

Those who are aged 50 or older face the greatest danger of complications from West Nile virus, according to the health department.

The strongest symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness, according to information from the health department. More long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb, the health department stated.

If one or more of these symptoms develop, especially after suffering mosquito bites within the previous two weeks, a health care provider should be contacted.

“If you have an illness, with a fever, mention it to the doctor if there are mosquito bites,” Coffman advised.

With individuals over the age of 50 at greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV infection, some of the neurological effects may be permanent, according to the health department.

While some may experience strong symptoms, others may not.

“It has a wide spectrum, from no symptoms at all, to light symptoms to those as severe as the flu,” Coffman said.

The strongest symptoms can be neuro invasive,” she said.

While no vaccination is available for humans, there are vaccines for horses, mules and donkeys.

“Horses, mules and donkeys are highly susceptible to West Nile,” Echelle said.

Those who own horses or the other equine animals may want to contact their veterinarian regarding vaccinations, Echelle advised.

Coffman said some experts are attributing the confirmation of cases of West Nile virus so early in the season to the fact that Oklahoma had such a mild winter.

CONTACT James Beaty at

Text Only
State News
  • clinic 1.jpg Edmond church to host free eye clinic

    An Edmond church and Feed the Children are partnering to provide a free eye clinic.
    Individuals will be able to receive a free vision test and free prescription eye glasses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Waterloo Road Baptist Church, 3100 E. Waterloo Road. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather 1.jpg July could be coolest in weather record books

    With chances for soaking rains and unseasonably cool temperatures becoming frequent, a weather expert is increasingly convinced Oklahoma will end up with a historic July.
    At mid-afternoon Tuesday, the National Weather Service forecast for Edmond called for the high Wednesday to be near 73 with a 90 percent chance of heavy rain, followed by the high Thursday near 78 with a 30 percent chance of showers.
    Highs are expected to remain in the 80s into Monday.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies

    A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
    Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
    As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.

    July 29, 2014

  • jc_ITS map.jpg More cameras monitoring Edmond motorists

    The Edmond City Council this week approved a services agreement with Electronic Technology, Inc. For the  installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ video wall system at a cost of $314,620. The vote was 3-0.
    ITS is a fiber optic, wireless or hybrid communication system of monitoring road events and equipment in the field, data archiving and predicting traffic volume, said Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

    Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
    Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_new pastor_Page_1.tiff Local church welcomes new pastor

    For one of Edmond’s newest pastors, faith and family intersect on a personal level.
    Sam Powers, pastor at Edmond 1st United Methodist Church, 305 E. Hurd St., and his family arrived in mid-May and his first Sunday in the pulpit was the second one in June. He and his wife Sheryl Heaton Powers, have two children — Kyla will be an eighth-grader at Cheyenne Middle School and David will be a fifth-grader at John Ross Elementary.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Anderson Properties continues to grow

    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties recently announced the acquisition of Tulsa-based Prudential Alliance Realty, an eight-office, 150-agent brokerage operating in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Edmond.
    The transaction gives Anderson Properties, a full-service real estate agency a total of 38 offices and more than 600 agents.

    July 28, 2014

  • police car.jpg Enid man injured following pursuit

    Larry Lynn Edwards was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the 11:32 p.m. crash on 30th Street, just north of Fox Drive, with head and internal body injuries.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas man critical after ATV crash

    Edward Alan Bourland, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, was taken from the scene of the 3 p.m. collision by Eagle Med and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

    July 26, 2014