Oklahoma's West Nile virus toll grows to five
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
8/29/12 at 3:28 AM
Two more Oklahomans have died from West Nile virus, bringing the total number of deaths this summer to five.
Ninety-two cases have been reported in the state, the most since 2007, when 107 cases were reported, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nationally, 1,118 cases have been reported so far this year, the most since the virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, the CDC reported.
Forty-one people have died from the virus, and of those, more than half were classified as the more-severe neuro- invasive form of the disease, the CDC reported.
The family of a Tulsa County man who died Sunday said his death was caused by West Nile virus, but the state Health Department hasn't confirmed any deaths in Tulsa County from the virus.
Conley Phipps II said his father was diagnosed with West Nile virus in July, when only a few other cases had been reported in the state.
About 10 days after Conley Phipps Sr. began complaining of feeling very weak, he was admitted to the hospital.
He was eventually placed in intensive care, and his condition continued to deteriorate.
The retired Cleveland High School vice principal and former high school basketball coach in Sperry, Skiatook and Cleveland had the neuroinvasive form of the disease and developed encephalitis.
He was unable to communicate on all but a few days while he was in the ICU and at times was shaking so hard that he couldn't stand, his son said.
The son said he had heard of West Nile virus before but didn't realize that it could get so serious.
"You never think you're going to have to deal with something like that in your family," he said.
A funeral for Phipps, who was 77, is planned for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Central Church of the Nazarene under the direction of Mallory-Martin Funeral Home of Sallisaw.
West Nile virus can cause high fever, disorientation, convulsions, limb paralysis or coma.
Nearly half of all the cases reported have been in people ages 60 to 79, according to the state Health Department.
Approximately 75 percent of all cases in the U.S. have been reported from five states, including Oklahoma, and nearly half have been reported from Texas, the CDC said.
Original Print Headline: Two more Sooners die from West Nile
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378