Copy-Oklahoma Health Departments Prepare For Zika Research, Concerns

Friday, July 22nd 2016, 4:52 am
By: News 9

The CDC gave to Oklahoma $302,000 on Thursday to help fight Zika.

The funds come from about $60 million being divided up and given to states across the country.

This comes on the heels of the first possible Zika case contracted here in the U.S.

The health department in Tulsa County tests for diseases in mosquitoes and is preparing for the possibility of Zika.

It’s hot and humid, which is the prime environment for mosquitoes to thrive. That means we all need to be prepared, officials say.

"If you see any line below this distinct red line then that means that test is positive,” Tulsa County Health Department’s Scott Meador said.

Thursdays are testing days at the health department's environmental health services.

The department traps mosquitoes weekly and looks for diseases like West Nile Virus, Dengue and Chikengunya.

But there is one thing they can't test for.

“To my knowledge, there is no Zika mosquito test,” Meadors said.

Zika only can be tested in humans, but the department does have other ways they look for the problem, by singling out the species of mosquito that can carry the Zika virus.

“We check every trap for the presence of that mosquito,” Meadors said. “We have the traps out that capture those specific types of mosquitoes, and even though we can't test for it, we can look at the numbers of that species and react accordingly."

And the department checks the traps weekly.

If the numbers of that specific mosquito are high, they look at that area more closely.

As for protecting the public, the health department recommends doing what you can to keep mosquitoes away.

“Get rid of the water in their own back yard, dump out anything that contains water,” Meadors said.

It also is recommended to cut tall grass and wear bug spray before going outside.

While the threat of Zika is becoming more relevant in Oklahoma, the Tulsa County Health Department says the biggest threat still is West Nile.