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Tulsa Mosquito Spray Trucks Combat Spread Of West Nile Virus

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The Tulsa Health Department has found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus in traps this year. The Tulsa Health Department has found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus in traps this year.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Workers from the Tulsa County Health Department will be spraying for mosquitos Monday. Mosquitos in Tulsa County tested positive for West Nile Virus last week.

Crews are scheduled to start spraying around 7:30 p.m. to affect the greatest number of mosquito pests, according to Bernard Dindy of the Tulsa Health Department.

See the map of mosquito testing sites in Tulsa

"It really doesn't do you much good to spray during the day because the spray breaks down very rapidly during the sunlight," he said.

There are some issues that could keep them from spraying: rain and winds that are above 10 miles per hour. Both factors make the spray useless.

The health department has a Mosquito Hotline residents can call to request a spraying: 918-595-4219. Dindy said his department uses the following criteria to determine where to go first:

  • Areas where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile or a person has contracted the disease
  • Number of calls from residents in that area
  • Increased numbers of mosquitoes appearing in traps

Dindy said some residents are concerned about the spray and that trucks are labeled with lights and the recommendation to stay back 200 feet. Drivers try to shut off the spray when they see groups of children nearby, he said, but the spray is regulated by the EPA.

8/3/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Man, Wheelchair-Bound From West Nile Virus, Tells Of Dangers

"It's targeted to kill a mosquito and is much safer than the sprays they used to use," he said.

There are other ways city residents can do their share to cut down on mosquito populations, Dindy said.

The Health Department gives the following tips to prevent mosquito bites and help prevent the spread of West Nile:

  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.)
  • Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don't have a place to breed.
  • Empty your pet's outdoor water bowl and refill daily.
  • Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged.

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