First Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Tulsa County

First Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Tulsa County

TULSA, OK – [August 21, 2014] – Tulsa Health Department officials today announce a confirmed human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in Tulsa County. This is the first confirmed human case to be reported in Tulsa County this season, and the second case statewide. In July, Oklahoma State Department of Health officials announced the first case had been confirmed in a resident of Major County.  Residents are urged to continue to take precaution against WNV as months with the highest risk for exposure to WNV are the months of July through October.

Anyone residing in an area where WNV is present is at risk for exposure; however, approximately 80% of individuals infected with the virus will have no symptoms. In mid-July, department officials confirmed that a sampling of mosquitoes from Tulsa County tested positive for WNV. Of the 486 trap samples tested this season, five different mosquito traps have been confirmed positive for WNV in Tulsa County to date.

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, which feeds on infected birds and then transmits the virus when biting humans, horses, and some other mammals. Symptoms of WNV include sudden onset of fever, headache, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Long-lasting complications can include difficulty concentrating, migraine headaches, extreme muscle weakness and tremors, and paralysis of a limb. If one or more of these symptoms develop, especially after suffering mosquito bites within the previous two weeks, a health care provider should be contacted. Persons over the age of 50 are at greatest risk of developing severe neurologic disease from WNV infection. Some of the neurological effects of WNV may be permanent. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.

Among the precautions to take against mosquito bites are the following:

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

The Tulsa Health Department operates a mosquito surveillance program in order to confirm when WNV is present in the community. Special mosquito traps are set in various locations throughout Tulsa County. Samples are collected and tested weekly for the presence of WNV. The Tulsa Health Department also works to control mosquito populations during the spring and summer by larviciding and adulticiding when necessary. To place a complaint about mosquitoes in your area, please call 918-595-4219 or submit an online environmental complaint form here.

The 2014 mosquito season by the numbers to date:

  • 56 trap samples tested during the week of August 11-15, 2014
  • 5 trap samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus
  • 486 trap samples have been tested so far this season
  • 13,000* mosquitoes collected for testing  *approximately
  • 1 human cases of WNV in Tulsa County
  • 2 total human cases of WNV in the state of Oklahoma
  • View the latest map of mosquito traps that have tested positive for West Nile virus (map updated August 15, 2014)