If confirmed by the State Health Department, it would be the second West Nile Virus death in the Sooner State this year. The first confirmed death of the year was a man older than 80. No other information on that victim has been released.
Officials say 55 cases in humans have been reported in 14 counties: most of which are around Tulsa. The number would put this year on track to be the most severe West Nile outbreak on record and is more than double the entire number of cases from 2008 to 2011.
One theory on why West Nile spikes every three or four years is that as one generation of wild birds that have built up immunity to the disease dies, the next generation takes time to build up immunity again. Infected birds spread West Nile to other mosquitoes which then bite other animals and humans.
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