West Nile proves deadly for Yukon man

A Yukon man who was diagnosed earlier this month with West Nile Virus has died.

Kristen Korstjen said her father, Charles Korstjen, died Thursday at Integris-Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City.

He had been in a coma since Sept. 22. He was diagnosed with West Nile Virus on Oct. 2.

Kristen Korstjen said her father never regained consciousness.

He was 54.

Korstjens, who was suffering from kidney failure and was awaiting a transplant, was hospitalized on Sept. 19, one day after undergoing one of his twice-weekly dialysis treatments.

On Sept. 18, a technician told the family that it appeared that Korstjens was running a fever and to monitor him.

The next day, the fever had climbed to 102.7. The family decided to take him to the emergency room, where the fever continued to climb. He was immediately hospitalized.

At one point, the fever climbed to more than 107 degrees, the family said.

West NileVirus is passed along by infected mosquitoes.

Kristen Korstjen said in a previous interview that the family believes he contracted the illness at his home.

“It’s hard to believe such a small bug can take out such a strong man,” she said.

Korstjens was the second person diagnosed with the illness this year in Canadian County. A third patient was announced this week.

Authorities with the Oklahoma Department of Health said the latest victim is older than 62 and was hospitalized. Officials did not say where the person lived, other than in Canadian County.

Symptoms of West Nile

No symptoms in most people: Most people  (8 out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.

Febrile illness (fever) in some people: About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

Serious symptoms in a few people: About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

  • Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
  • Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.
  • Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects to the central nervous system might be permanent.
  • About 1 out of 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.


  • No vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile virus infection are available.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce fever and relieve some symptoms
  • In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.
  • If you think you or a family member might have West Nile virus disease, talk with your health care provider.

In Oklahoma

  • There have 32 reported cases of West Nile Virus in Oklahoma. That number includes three cases in Canadian County.
  • There have been two deaths in Oklahoma from West Nile Virus.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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