Tulsa Health Department Begins Mosquito Surveillance Program

Wednesday, May 28th 2014, 7:37 pm
By: News On 6

The Tulsa County Health Department just launched its mosquito surveillance program. Crews set out traps and are spraying areas to kill mosquitoes, and hopefully prevent West Nile Virus.

Officials say a prime time for mosquitos to bite is when it's nearly dark and when you're near water. The recent rainfall has left puddles around the city, those are a breeding ground for the bugs.

Bernard Dindy with the Tulsa Health Department, said, "Most mosquitos like the dirty stagnant water, but they will lay their eggs in clear standing water as well, just whatever they can find."

Trash can lids, flower pots and puddles, all places where bugs breed. The rainfall is great for the drought, but also a great place for mosquitos to hatch. Sometimes those mosquitos carry West Nile Virus.

Epidemiologist, Nicole Schlaefli, said, "Last year we had 13 confirmed cases, so far this year we haven't had any come up to us at this point. So right now we are trying to push prevention."

Dindy said, "We had 13 human cases, but we had approximately 31 pools of mosquitos that tested positive for the sites we set up."

In 2013 traps set in Midtown and north Tulsa neighborhoods had the most confirmed cases of mosquitoes with West Nile.

"We also set out those traps to test mosquitos and sort mosquitos out to test them for the West Nile Virus," Dindy said.

The Health Department has also started their spraying program.

"So they do put out a thin mist, a fog, we want you to say 200 feet behind these trucks," said Dindy.

There are things you can do to protect you and your family.

"So if you are going outside to run or going outside to garden, be sure to wear 20 to 30 percent deet." Schlaefli said.

Dindy said, "Try to eliminate any puddle of water that you have around your house because it doesn't take much for mosquitos to lay their eggs, and it takes seven to ten days for their eggs to hatch out."

The Health Department set out fifty traps Friday. They set the traps in different areas about every two weeks.

The results for Friday's traps will be in next week.