Wet Weather Increases Mosquito Threat

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Oklahoma health officials encourage individuals to take steps to protect themselves mosquitos.

With the unseasonably long wet weather the increase in the mosquito population will grow. Mosquitoes can reproduce in very small amounts of standing water and can reproduce rapidly. For the past six years since West Nile virus (WNV) first appeared in Oklahoma, activity of the virus in Oklahoma County has been relatively low, but with the wet weather that Oklahoma has been experiencing, the risk of infection is once again present.

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The Oklahoma City-County Health Department will again be obtaining larvicide to distribute to Oklahoma County municipalities. The larvicide, which prevents the development of mosquito larvae into adults, will be placed in public areas with standing water.

While the larvicide will not be available to the general public, there are a number of precautions that people can take to reduce their risk of being infected. These precautions can include limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, making sure that screens over windows and doors are in good condition, wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts for outdoor activity when possible, and using an insect repellent containing DEET on skin and clothing. People should also be aware of the symptoms of West Nile Encephalitis, including headache, high fever, stiff neck and muscle weakness, and consult a doctor if they experience these symptoms.

Members of the public are encouraged to be aware of sources of standing water around their homes. Even very small pools of standing water can be used by mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Swimming pools and children's wading pools should be covered when not in use. Boats should be stored either covered or turned upside down when possible.

Items that can collect rainwater, such as old tires and buckets, should be either covered or discarded, and bird baths and pet water bowls should be cleaned out daily. Concerns over standing water on private property should be directed to OCCHD's Consumer Protection Division at 425-4347 or 425-4348. Standing water or mosquito problems on public land should be referred to the municipality which the land is a part of.

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