Mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus in Tulsa County, leading to increased warnings in Oklahoma.
According to a News On 6 report, the Tulsa Health Department advised residents about the positive tests on Friday. The mosquitoes that carried the West Nile virus were trapped in midtown just east of the city’s Fairgrounds.
The Health Department advised the city and the state to practice caution. In a statement, they said, “It is important for residents to remember to take precautions against WNV and other mosquito borne illness. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of WNV in humans in Tulsa County this year.”
However, Tulsa Health Department’s Scott Meador reminded residents, “It only takes one biter to potentially be infected with a very serious disease, so wear the [repellents], avoid being outside, and that could avoid you or your friend and family from possibly obtaining a very serious disease.”
Fox 23 News reported that officials take samples and test every week to protect the population from the potentially deadly virus. So far, out of 226 trap samples taken this season, one trap tested positive. In all, a total of 15,378 mosquitoes have been trapped and tested.
The Health Department places the traps in 25 to 30 locations each week to collect specimens for testing, and now that Tulsa County experienced a positive test for West Nile, the county will take aggressive measures for controlling the mosquito population in the area.
This time of year, people in Oklahoma often spend a lot of time outside with picnics, barbecues, splash parks, and other gatherings. Plus, with the July 4 celebrations scheduled next week and the fact that many people plan to begin theirs this weekend, taking precautions against getting bitten by potentially dangerous mosquitoes is especially important.
There are also measures that residents can take which include dumping out outdoor containers with water inside to keep mosquitoes from breeding in them and applying bug spray that contains DEET, or another CDC-approved repellent on both clothing and skin. Plus, residents should make repairs to window screens and door screens in order to keep mosquitoes outside. Finally, ask neighbors to also drain any containers that might have water and breed mosquitoes.
West Nile is spread by mosquitoes, so people do not catch it from each other. However, one infected mosquito could potentially infect many people, so it’s incredibly important to avoid being bitten.
Tulsa County residents can call 918-595-4219 for more information.