Health Department: New West Nile Cases Found After Rain

Thursday, July 26th 2012, 4:16 pm
By: News On 6

The health department says the last couple of storms in Tulsa have led to more cases of the West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes love standing water, it's where they breed.

The health department says two people in Tulsa have been confirmed to have West Nile virus, in just the last two weeks.

It takes up to 48 hours for mosquito eggs to hatch and less than 10 days for the larvae to mature into an adult.

But to do that they need standing water and the small showers we've experienced this summer can be a boom to the mosquito population

John Baker is with the Tulsa County Health Department.

"Where we get a significant amount of rain in small areas—that's enough to fill up any containers or anything that would hold water to provide a habitat for mosquitoes," Baker said.

He said four people in the county have confirmed cases of West Nile; two of those since July 12th.

The first two cases were in west Tulsa and north Tulsa

7/12/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma's Second West Nile Virus Case May Be In Tulsa County

The most recent cases have both been in the area between 71st and 81st Street and Sheridan and Mingo.

Baker says it's important to note that only 1% of the mosquito population carries the West Nile virus. That's one in a hundred. He says the chance of you getting bit by that mosquito and it turning into something serious is very slim. But, still, there are some things you can do to keep you and your family safe.

The checklist starts with getting rid of standing water, cleaning clogged gutters, and changing the water in your bird baths every few days.

You should also cut weeds and tall grass; those are places mosquitoes spend a lot of time.

Baker said it's important to go through your checklist immediately after a rain.

He said it doesn't take much water for mosquitoes to breed.

"It's just a matter of looking for any children's toys, boat tarps, any buckets or containers that could hold water," Baker said.

The state health department said adults are more likely to get West Nile and people over 50 are at a greater risk to develop the most severe form of the virus.

They say everyone should wear repellant that contains DEET.

The health department is currently spraying the areas where the West Nile cases have originated.

If you notice a lot of mosquitoes in your area, the Tulsa Health Department has a hotline you can call to have someone come spray. The number is 918-595-4219.