TULSA - Officials with the Tulsa Health Department says mosquitoes in the county have tested positive for West Nile virus, and Thursday the department learned a Tulsa County resident has been diagnosed with the virus.
The patient is a male over the age of 65 years old, according to health department officials.
"We know that West Nile virus is a seasonal threat and we encourage the community to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites," said Dr. Bruce Dart, Tulsa Health Department director
The Tulsa Health Department wants to remind the public to take precautions against West Nile virus.
The months of July through October are typically the highest risk months for exposure to the virus in Oklahoma.
The virus could be on the rise this year. The Tulsa City-County Health Department says there's been a lull in cases the last few years. But this year, that could change.
The last time Tulsa County saw a peak year for the West Nile virus was in 2007-- with 34 cases.
"We've experienced about a two to three year lull, previously. But it seems like this year there may be another resurgence of it," said John Baker, manager of environmental services with the health department.
Crews have set 75 mosquito surveillance traps across the county. Nine sites tested positive this week. Still, officials say the chances of getting the virus are low.
"Only one percent of the mosquito population possibly carries West Nile virus. That means if you were bitten 100 times, only one mosquito out of that 100 might have West Nile virus," Baker said.
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of the Culex mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and then transmits the virus when biting humans, horses and some other mammals. Symptoms 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 the West Nile virus infection. Some of the neurological effects of the virus may be permanent.
Among the precautions to take against mosquito bites are the following:
The Tulsa Health Department also works to control mosquito populations during the spring and summer. In a typical mosquito season, THD sprays more than 800 square miles for adult mosquitoes.
To place a complaint about mosquitoes in your area, call 918-595-4219.
For more information about West Nile virus prevention, visit the Tulsa Health Department website at http://www.tulsa-health.org.
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