TULSA — 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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West Nile virus is a mosquito-
Our mosquito surveillance program is vigilant in testing for West Nile virus.”
Tulsa Health Department