The Oklahoma Department of Health and the Oklahoma State University department of entomology and plant pathology have found mosquitos testing positive for the West Nile virus in Payne County.

Broadcast reports stating a human had contracted the disease are false, said deputy state epidemiologist Kristy Bradley.

Lisa Coburn, senior agriculturalist for the department at OSU, said the positive mosquito pool came from the residential area behind the OSU vet-med building that extends south to 12th Avenue, which also had a positive mosquito pool last year. The field tests were conducted June 8 and June 14.

Coburn and Bradley said this is a concern because it comes 4-6 weeks earlier than when the department usually finds mosquitos testing positive for the virus.

“It could potentially result in a more severe West Nile season,” Bradley said.

Coburn said the mild fall and winter contributed to the early finding, adding she doesn’t know what to expect from this year’s West Nile season, which typically runs from July through October.

Coburn also said while there are vaccines for horses that work well, there are still no vaccines for humans. She said if a person has contracted the virus, they may feel flu-like symptoms and are advised to see a physician immediately.

Bradley said the type of mosquito that specifically transmits the virus is a weak flier and most active during the evening hours through early morning.

She recommends wearing mosquito repellent, covering as much skin as possible and wearing closed-toe shoes when outside during that time.

As for the home, Bradley said the goal is to reduce as many mosquito breeding sites as possible by reviewing the area and eliminating stagnant water.

Bradley said since the first case of West Nile in Oklahoma in 2002, the department has been finding mosquito pools positive for the virus every summer.

These early findings might mean more cases of the virus and a longer season, Bradley said.

This is the third season for mosquito surveillance conducted by the department, Bradley said, adding there are also volunteers in McAlester and Pawnee conducting tests.

Trending Video

Recommended for you