OCCHD Tests For West Nile Virus In Mosquitoes


Wednesday, July 14th 2021, 5:21 pm
By: Hunter McKee


OKLAHOMA CITY -

It's that time a year again when mosquitos are in full force, and with them, comes the threat of the West Nile virus.

Within the last few weeks, the state's seen several inches of rain, which has led to standing water. This creates perfect conditions for mosquitoes.

"If you get a good three days of heat after a good rain, mosquitoes develop very nicely," said Sara Liggins, Oklahoma City-County Health Department senior public health inspector.

Liggins said they've been testing mosquitoes for the last 10 weeks, and it's important to get ahead of the game.

"We have about 13 to 15 traps throughout the Oklahoma County area," Liggins said.

Every week, Liggins helps set the traps up. So far this year, they've collected more than 2,200 mosquitoes and tested more than 1,800 of those.

OCCHD has not found any positive tests of West Nile virus, but there's still a lot of testing to be done. They'll continue this process until the state sees its first freeze.  

Liggins said the number of mosquitoes they see can fluctuate week to week.

"Maybe about two or three weeks ago, I had 625," said Liggins. "Last week, I had 308. This week, it could or could not be that many."

Though there are no positive tests so far, OCCHD reported 923 mosquitoes that tested positive in 2020 and that's from 35 different tubes.  

With more rain in the forecast this week, health officials still urge everyone to take the necessary precautions like wearing long sleeves and using bug spray.

Health officials also said they have not seen any mosquitoes with the Zika virus.