It's officially Fall, but we're still seeing cases the west Nile virus in Oklahoma.
So far this year there have been 151 reported cases and 8 deaths. We're learning how some of those unsuspecting carriers of the virus are finding out they have it.
It's the Oklahoma Blood Institute's first drive in partnership with TU. While this helps increase their blood donations they're also promoting blood donor safety.
So far this year OBI has discovered 36 donors in Oklahoma who had the west Nile virus. Ryan Decook is not one of them, but he's glad they do the testing.
"They're definitely taking the steps that they need so that's pretty cool."
OBI detected its first west Nile case in June and the latest one last week. The testing will continue and is routine.
"We do west Nile testing year round. considering our most recent case was last week, I would say yes we have the possibility of picking up some other cases throughout the remainder of the mosquito season," says Crystal Farrimond with the Oklahoma Blood Institute.
OBI also tests donors blood for hepatitis, HIV and aids. The tests are done so that no patient gets bad blood.
"I'm glad that they're taking those precautions and whatever other precautions they need they're probably taking those too. 1;26
When it comes to giving blood people can't go into the donation process without saying yes to the question do you feel healthy and well. but west Nile is tricky because the symptoms may go undetected. so there's an initial test and then another test SHOULD THE first one turn up positive.
"It's kind of like casting a wide net to make sure we don't miss anybody, then we do a confirmatory test on top of that those confirmed positive tests are the ones that we report to the health department."
People who test positive for west Nile aren't allowed to donate for 120 days. That's to ensure the safety of everyone. We also checked with the Tulsa Chapter of the American Cross. It tells us there have been 17 confirmed west Nile cases for its Southwest region which includes Oklahoma and Texas.