West Nile virus is spreading in Tulsa County
Tulsa, Okla. (KTUL) - There are now six areas of Tulsa County that have tested positive for the West Nile virus.
There are two locations in west Tulsa, one near downtown and three in the northern part of the county.
The two new locations up north, are near Tulsa International Airport and Collinsville.
The Tulsa County Health Department is using a state-of-the art process to track the disease.
Dozens of mosquito traps are set up all over the county.
The insects in them are collected every week and taken to the lab for testing.
The species that carries West Nile is separated and a vial is prepared for the insects from each trap.
The dead insects are ground up and liquefied, so the samples can be evaluated with a special test strip.
If the samples are positive, the strip will turn colors, much like a pregnancy test.
Scott Meador is the Coordinator of the Mosquito Control Program and he said the results are very timely.
"In the past, I had to mail the samples off and it could be weeks before we could get the positive or negative results," he said.
Now the results are available the same day.
"Helps us make a better plan of action for getting rid of the mosquitoes in those respective neighborhoods," Meador said.
The areas in question are sprayed by county crews as soon as possible.
We all need to take West Nile seriously because it is dangerous.
While it is potentially fatal, even a mild case can be trouble.
"There is a possible of getting meningitis or encephalitis as symptoms," said Tulsa County Epidemiologist Louisa Krug. "So, those are symptoms we take very seriously and often end up with people in the hospital to be treated for those."
The county workers practice what they preach.
The field crew are issued repellent and they use it because they understand the consequences.
Scott Meador said he extends those precautions to his loved ones.
"My kids were outside playing until 9 or 10 o'clock last night and they got the quick spray down before they got to be outside," he said.
If you have mosquito issues in your neighborhood, you can call the Tulsa County Health Department hotline at (918) 582-WELL.