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Mosquitoes in Tulsa County test positive for West Nile virus

Tulsa Health Department officials confirmed Thursday that a sampling of mosquitoes from Tulsa County tested positive for West Nile virus. At this time, there have been no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Tulsa County.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: August 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm •  Published: August 2, 2013

Mosquitoes in Tulsa County have tested positive for West Nile, the first sign that the virus is active again in Oklahoma.

Tulsa Health Department officials announced Thursday that through its mosquito surveillance program, they identified West Nile in a sample of mosquitoes.

“Our mosquito surveillance program is vigilant in testing for West Nile virus,” said Bernard Dindy, Tulsa Health Department environmental health services supervisor, in a news release. “We routinely test 50 to 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.”

No other county in the state has reported mosquitoes that test positive for West Nile. However, only a few counties have mosquito surveillance programs, including Tulsa, Oklahoma, Carter and Pittsburg County, said Lauri Smithee, director of the acute disease service at the state Health Department.

By this time last year, Oklahoma had seen 14 confirmed cases of West Nile virus.

In 2012, the first two cases of West Nile virus were reported by mid-July. By the end of August, Oklahoma had seen 101 confirmed cases of West Nile virus and five deaths. That number grew to 178 confirmed cases and 15 deaths, the largest number of confirmed West Nile virus cases and deaths that Oklahoma had seen since the virus entered the U.S. in 1999.

Carter County in south-central Oklahoma had the highest rate per capita of reported West Nile virus cases, at 34 cases per 100,000 people. Pittsburg County in southeast Oklahoma had the second highest rate, at 26 cases per 100,000 people.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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About West Nile virus

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness. It is not known to be passed from person to person. About 80 percent of the people who become infected don't show symptoms. However, people older than 50 are at a greater risk of developing serious illnesses that affect their nervous system.

Our mosquito surveillance program is vigilant in testing for West Nile virus.”

Bernard Dindy,
Tulsa Health Department


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