Oklahoma Health Experts Discuss Zika Protection

Friday, August 5th 2016, 6:23 pm
By: Grant Hermes

Concerns over Zika are shifting to Oklahoma as more cases are showing up in the state. Now many want to know what the state is doing to prevent the spread. What we found out may surprise you.

There's been a lot of talk about the best ways to stop mosquitoes, but here in Oklahoma they're trying to stop them at the source: Stagnant water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oklahoma is prime breeding ground for both species of mosquito known to carry the virus. The greatest threat is still for pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant.

“In Oklahoma we've stepped up our monitoring of the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito, to gain better knowledge of where they are and in how many numbers,” said OSDH Epidemiologist, Dr. Kristy Bradley.

So far, the state health department says 17 travel-related cases of Zika have been found in Oklahoma.  There hasn't been a single case from a local source. But that hasn't stopped cities and counties from taking precautions.

While images of spray crews in Florida are going viral, experts with the Oklahoma City and County Health Department say spraying in Oklahoma just doesn't make sense.

They say it comes down to three reasons: The average wind speed in central Oklahoma is just too fast for spraying to be affective. It's difficult to be ensure the mist is working and it can harm the environment by killing insects we need.

The City of Norman is the only major city in the metro area that sprays for disease-carrying mosquitos. Places like Edmond and Yukon don't, and Oklahoma City officials say they have never sprayed.

Instead those cities look for stagnant water and lay down larvacide, the method most public exterminators agree is the best defense against Zika.

Doctors still say your risk of contracting Zika while in Oklahoma is next to zero, but they stress caution if you're traveling to foreign zika hot zones this summer.