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    Posted: June 30 2018 at 2:20am

THD: West Nile virus found in Tulsa County mosquitoes

by Megan Bell

Friday, June 29th 2018

TULSA COUNTY, Okla. (KTUL) — The Tulsa Health Department confirmed Friday that a sample of mosquitoes from a trap in Tulsa County tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

Health officials say there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in humans in Tulsa County this year.

THD begins a mosquito surveillance program every May, but they say July through October are typically the highest risk months for exposure to WNV in Oklahoma.

“Our mosquito surveillance program is attentive when testing for West Nile virus,” said Bernard Dindy, Tulsa Health Department environmental health services program manager. “We are proactive when it comes to controlling the mosquito population by killing the eggs before they become adults. We regularly test 25-30 unique locations weekly, and once a positive sample is identified we are readily available to begin an aggressive mosquito control methods in the area which includes informing the public so they can protect themselves.”

WNV is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that feeds on infected birds, then transmits the virus by biting humans, horses and other mammals.

Symptoms of the virus include headache, sudden onset of fever, dizziness and muscle weakness. Long-term problems can include migraine headaches, difficulty concentrating, paralysis of limbs and extreme muscle weakness and tremors. THD says if one or more of the symptoms develop, especially within one to two weeks of a mosquito bite, you should contact a doctor.

Health officials say people over 50 years old are at a greater risk of developing severe neurological disease from WNV infection, some of which can have permanent effects.

“There have been human cases of West Nile virus disease in Tulsa County before, some of which have resulted in death,” Dindy said. “It’s so important to take steps to prevent mosquitoes in your own yard and protect your family from mosquito-borne illnesses.”

THD recommends precautions to take against mosquito bites:

  • Dump and drain items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or other CDC approved repellents on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.)
  • Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbors to dump and drain and to use repellents.
  • Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.

As part of their mosquito surveillance program in the community, THD has special mosquito traps set up in different locations throughout Tulsa County. The samples from the traps are collected and tested weekly for WNV.

To file a complaint about mosquitoes in your area, you can call 918-5494219. To report standing or stagnant water in your area, you can call 918-595-4200 or submit an online environmental complaint form.

For all other information, please visit the Tulsa Health Department's website.

Source:   https://http://okcfox.com/news/local/thd-west-nile-virus-found-in-tulsa-county-mosquitoes

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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