Mosquitoes Connected To Zika Virus Found In Southwest Oklahoma

Thursday, July 28th 2016, 11:44 am
By: News On 6

The Oklahoma Department of Health confirms that the mosquito connected with the Zika virus has been found in southwest Oklahoma. In a news release Thursday, ODH said a small number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been found in Altus.

The health department confirms as of this week, 13 Oklahoma residents have acquired Zika - all during international travel. That number includes one person who was pregnant when she got the disease.

So far no case of Zika virus transmission has taken place locally, the department states. 

There is no vaccine, preventative drug or treatment drug available for Zika, but you are advised to avoid travel to south and central America. The CDC reports the most common symptoms are mild and include fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes, and last for several days to a week.

The mosquitoes can carry yellow fever as well as other diseases like chikungunya and Dengue, but none of those diseases have been transmitted locally in Oklahoma, ODH said. The primary concern in Oklahoma is West Nile virus which is spread by the Culex mosquito.

7/21/2016 Related Story: Oklahoma Health Departments Prepare For Zika Research, Concerns

The health department is trapping mosquitoes in six Oklahoma communities including four near military bases. Those areas are included because of the potential for mosquitoes to be brought in with military supplies, a release states. Those areas are in addition to trapping and testing already done in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Comanche County for West Nile virus.

Oklahoma State University is assisting the ODH with the mosquito trapping in those six communities.

The Oklahoma Department of Health recommends taking the following precautions to guard against mosquito-borne disease:

  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 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 the home. 
  • Prevent items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, children’s toys and tires from holding water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed. 
  • Empty your pet’s outdoor water bowl and refill daily. 
  • Scrub and refill bird baths every three days. 
  • Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged. 

Go to the Department of Health for more information.