Health officials have trapped mosquitoes that are positive with the West Nile virus.
Starting Thursday afternoon, there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in humans in Tulsa County, according to the Tulsa Health Department news release.
West Nile virus is usually transmitted between birds and mosquitoes, but this virus can be transmitted to humans. Diseases caused by viruses are usually characterized by fever, headaches, drowsiness, nausea and rashes.
The department’s seasonal campaign to trap and test insects and protect the spread of the West Nile began in late April.
Health officials report that a frequently asked question about carriers of West Nile virus insects is whether they can carry COVID-19. Global and national health officials report that there is no evidence that COVID-19 transmits in such a way.
“COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads mainly through droplets when infected people cough, sneeze or talk,” Tulsa health officials said in a news release. “Mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as the West Nile virus, so we strongly recommend using mosquito repellent containing DEET to protect yourself.”
Mosquitoes might be abundant this year because spring is wetter than usual. Residents are encouraged to empty containers that might hold stagnant water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around their property.
Seasonal mosquito surveillance aims to find them, determine their population, what species they are and make a risk assessment. July to October in Oklahoma is usually the month with the highest risk for exposure to the West Nile virus.
THD Vector Control Program Coordinator Scott Meador said that the positive test on mosquitoes at the beginning of this surveillance was not an indicator of the prevalence of the virus in the Tulsa area.
“We started our surveillance program in early May with the aim of catching positive West Nile mosquitoes as early as possible,” Meador said. “Our mosquito control program has recently implemented new testing guidelines and has adjusted the monitoring and testing start dates.”
Other ways to thwart mosquitoes include fixing or installing window and door screens, encouraging neighbors to remove and dry standing water sources and to clean leaves and debris from gutters regularly.
Three main species of mosquitoes, of which there are several subspecies, develop in Oklahoma: Culex, Aedes and Anopheles, the department previously reported. The Culex mosquito, the carrier of the famous West Nile virus, usually comes out at night.
During the 2019 season, Tulsa health officials collected more than 33,000 mosquitoes and found 12 traps tested positive for the virus. In 2019, state health officials reported seven cases of West Nile virus in the Oklahomans and there were no deaths.
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