West Nile Virus detected in Kay County mosquitos

August 8, 2023 | Headlines

PONCA CITY — The Kay County Health Department is reporting that a mosquito pool collected in Kay County tested positive for West Nile Virus. 

The positive test was collected in Kay County as part of the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s mosquito surveillance program.

The mosquito surveillance program, which occurs across multiple counties in Oklahoma, traps mosquitoes and tests them weekly for the presence of WNV. 

Recently a mosquito tested positive in Payne County.

Mosquitoes transmit WNV, and a positive mosquito pool means there is an enhanced risk of WNV exposure to people in this area. Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to protect yourself from WNV infection. 

West Nile Virus symptoms are commonly mild, with signs of fever and headache. However, 1 in 150 humans do develop more severe symptoms, including meningitis or encephalitis that can lead to death. 

There are activities city officials can take to decrease mosquito abundance and minimize the population’s exposure to mosquito bites. 

Consider promoting the following action steps to decrease community- wide mosquito exposure. 

Promote community messaging to inform citizens how to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds around their homes. Example messages are: 

• Use EPA-approved insect repellent, such as DEET, when outdoors.

• Eliminate areas of standing water inside and outside your home.
Standing water is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Examples of objects that collect enough water for mosquitoes to lay eggs and hatch are toys, wheelbarrows, tire swings, flower pots, buckets, birdbaths, outdoor pet water bowls, trash cans and bottle caps.

• Keep mosquitoes outside by maintaining window screens.

• Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most
active.

• Wear long sleeves and long pants to shield skin from mosquitoes.

Steps to minimize the public’s exposure to mosquitoes 

Community messages: 

• Use mosquito repellents when outdoors.

• Remove areas of standing water around the home.

• Keep window and door screens in good repair.

• Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

• Wear long sleeves and long pants to shield skin from mosquitoes.
Community-wide action steps:

• Encourage tire shop operators to eliminate water that accumulates in tires.

• Identify drainage ditches and other areas where water accumulates.

• Treat areas of stagnant water that cannot be eliminated with larvicide.

• City-wide campaigns to eliminate debris.

Conduct a community-wide inspection to identify and eliminate areas of stagnant water that serve as mosquito breeding grounds. 

• Inspect tire shops and educate operators on the importance of preventing water from being trapped in tires stored outside. Water trapped inside tires should be dumped weekly or treated with larvicide.

• Abandoned swimming pools are sources for mosquito reproduction and are candidates for larvicide treatment.

• Repair areas where water collects and does not drain. Examples include broken water lines, loading docks,
blocked storm drains, culverts and potholes.

• Treat persistent areas of stagnant water with larvicide.

• Conduct city-wide campaigns to eliminate debris that can serve as mosquito breeding grounds.