Tulsa County Health Department reports positive West Nile virus tests of area mosquitoes

TULSA - The Tulsa Health Department is reporting area mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus.

Officials say the health department's mosquito surveillance program detected the virus in a sampling of mosquitoes from the county.

"Our mosquito surveillance program is vigilant in testing for West Nile virus," said Bernard Dindy, Tulsa Health Department environmental health services supervisor. "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."

VIEW A MAP OF TESTING SITES AND POSITIVE RESULTS (http://bit.ly/WNV8113)

There have been no confirmed cases of West Nile virus in humans from Tulsa County; however, the highest risk for exposure in Oklahoma is from July through October.

West Nile virus is spread through bites from infected mosquitoes, which feed on infected birds, and transmit the virus to humans, horses and other mammals.

Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness.  Long-lasting complications include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors and limb paralysis.

People older than 50 are at the greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from West Nile virus, some of the effects which may be permanent.

Precautions against mosquito bites include using a DEET insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when outdoors, using door screens at your home, prevent outdoor items from collecting standing water, empty your pet's outdoor water bowl and clean leaves and debris from rain gutters.

The health department's mosquito surveillance program traps mosquitoes in various locations throughout Tulsa County to monitor the presence of West Nile virus.  In a typical mosquito season, more than 800 square miles are sprayed for adult mosquitoes.

To place a complaint with the health department regarding mosquitoes, call (918) 595-4219.

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