West Nile Season off to a Slow Start in Tulsa

Jul 19, 2019

Credit James Gathany / CDC

Tulsa is having a slower West Nile Virus season so far this year.

Just three Tulsa Health Department traps have tested positive for the virus as of late Thursday.

"And that may be due to the flooding that we had, because we had a lot of floodwater mosquitoes that do not produce West Nile Virus," said Environmental Programs Manager Bernard Dindy.

Two traps are near the Broken Arrow Expressway between Peoria and Harvard. The third is near 41st Street and 49th West Avenue, but there were no positive tests for the virus this week.

West Nile numbers may tick up as the season goes on. Tulsa County has seen just one human case so far this year.

Dindy said Tulsans will still want to take steps to limit exposure to mosquitoes, like wearing insect repellent with DEET and eliminating standing water around their homes.

"Because the floodwater mosquitoes are considered nuisance mosquitoes, they bite real hard, but the West Nile Virus, which is the Culex mosquito, doesn’t bite that hard," Dindy said.

Some areas may be seeing swarms of the floodwater mosquitoes.

"If you have an extremely bad mosquito problem or think that you do, please call the health department so we can do some surveillance in that area, some tests in that area, and it may be an area that we may have to treat with larvicide or go out and spray," Dindy said.

Health department traps went from collecting hundreds of mosquitoes a week in May to collecting thousands a week starting in mid-June.