Tulsa Health Department: Big Decrease In Mosquito-Borne West Nile Virus
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Health Department said they have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus.
Mosquito season runs from about May until about October, and while mother nature is to thank for lowering the number of traps that have tested positive, we're not out of the woods just yet.
Experts said all the water from Oklahoma's spring flooding may have helped Tulsa County.
"It washes the larvae away, a rain drop on a tiny mosquito is pretty hard as well. There's a few of them that hide and make it through the storm," said Scott Meador, Program Coordinator of Vector Control Tulsa Health Department.
Meador said only 3 mosquito traps set up by the mosquito surveillance program have tested positive for the potentially deadly disease.
That's a drop from last year, where 9 traps tested positive at this time last year.
"Those rainfalls came every five, seven, or 10 days, and every heavy rainfall, a big storm system kind of resets the system. There’s mosquitoes out there but it never really lets the numbers explode," said Meador.
25 traps are spread throughout Tulsa County.
"We go out and we collect the mosquito traps every week," Meador said. "We can tell which species of mosquitoes are in those traps and those are ones that generally carry west Nile virus."
That's a big win for people who come out in the summertime.
"Its been a lot less than it has been in the past," said Travis Repp, a resident.
"I've noticed I haven't had as many mosquito bites," said Melissa Cameron, another resident.
Meador said the mosquito numbers have roughly stayed the same, but he said the most important thing is seeing less West Nile.
"Very few people can experience paralysis, or even death from this disease, that's what we are trying to prevent," said Meador.
The health department said the best way to protect yourself is to wear bug repellent and dump out standing water.
If you'd like the program to come out and spray, you can click here.