The Tulsa Health Department has confirmed that mosquitoes from one of its traps tested positive for the West Nile virus, officials reported Thursday.
The sample was taken from a trap in a midtown Tulsa area bounded by Lewis and Harvard and 11th and 21st streets.
“Our mosquito surveillance program has implemented new testing guidelines and has adjusted the date of testing to possibly catch earlier positives such as this one,” Scott Meador, vector control program coordinator, said in a news release. “In the past, we have had positives early in the season (May) and last season the first positive was in late June. THD is prepared to take action in the affected area as soon as weather conditions allow which includes informing the public so they can protect themselves. Finding a positive test this early is no indicator of how prevalent West Nile virus will be this season.”
The department performs weekly tests at unique locations and has tested 30 samples so far this season, according to the release. Once a positive sample is found, the sample is identified and “aggressive mosquito control methods” are started.
The months of July through October are typically the highest risk months for exposure to West Nile in Oklahoma, though the health department begins its mosquito surveillance program each May.
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 include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness and muscle weakness, officials said.
Long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb.
To place a complaint about mosquitoes, standing water or stagnant water, contact 918-582-9355 or submit an online environmental complaint form at tulsa-health.org.