Tulsa Health Department officials confirmed that a sampling of mosquitoes from Tulsa County has tested positive for West Nile virus . It is important for residents to remember to take precautions against WNV. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of WNV in humans in Tulsa County; however, the months of July through October are typically the highest risk months for exposure to WNV in Oklahoma.
“Our mosquito surveillance program is vigilant in testing for West Nile virus,” said Bernard Dindy, Tulsa Health Department environmental health services program manager. “But more importantly, we work proactively to control the mosquito population by larviciding to kill the eggs before they become adults. We routinely test 50-60 pools weekly, and once a positive sample is identified we are aggressive in spraying the area and informing the public so they can protect themselves.”
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and then transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and some other mammals. Symptoms of WNV include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb. If one or more of these symptoms develop, especially after suffering mosquito bites within the previous two weeks, a health care provider should be contacted. Persons over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV infection. Some of the neurological effects of WNV may be permanent.