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Tulsa Health Department Identifies Season's First West Nile-Carrying Mosquito

Tulsa Health Department

The Tulsa Health Department said Friday it had detected West Nile virus in a mosquito caught in one of its surveillance traps, the first confirmed carrier mosquito of the season.

“We start setting traps as part of our surveillance program in early May to monitor for West Nile virus, and to identify any positive mosquitoes as early as possible,” said Mandy Dixon, THD vector control coordinator, in a statement. “Our mosquito control program recognizes the importance of preventing mosquito-borne illness by educating the public on bite prevention and identifying and dumping any standing water. THD is prepared to act in the affected areas as soon as weather conditions allow.” 

Dixon said the mosquito was located in a trap in the area of 41st and Garnett. 

“There have been positive mosquito tests in previous years as well as human cases of West Nile virus disease in Tulsa County, unfortunately, some of those people have died of the illness,” said Dixon. “It is important to take steps to prevent mosquitos from biting you and your family. Prevention is easy with these steps.”

Steps include using insect repellent with the chemical DEET; avoiding prolonged time outdoors in the dawn and dusk hours; wearing light-colored long sleeves and pants; and being sure to drain any standing water on your property. 

Symptoms of West Nile virus mimic those of other illnesses and include sudden onset of fever, headache and muscle soreness. Dixon said residents should consult with a medical professional if they experience symptoms.

Dixon said THD accepts citizen complaints regarding areas where mosquitos are prevalent, and will dispatch workers to the reported area to determine if mitigation steps will be taken.

More historic and current data on mosquitos in Tulsa County -- including where West Nile has been detected -- is available at the THD Mosquito Surveillance webpage

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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