OKC takes extra precautions to prevent West Nile Virus

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The West Nile Virus has reached epidemic status in Oklahoma.

City and County health officials are particularly concerned because there are fewer mosquitoes this season and yet a significantly higher number of West Nile Virus cases, including three documented deaths in Oklahoma.

Dallas is utilizing an aerial spray method that hasn't been used in almost 50 years.

The insecticide abatement program is controversial because some believe there are serious side effects for humans, animals and insects in the area where insecticide is widely used.

Texas beekeepers do not support aerial spraying because of the potentially fatal effect it can have on the local bee population.

In Oklahoma, there is only one large community spraying for mosquitoes, Moore.

Instead, in Oklahoma City officials are monitoring the documented West Nile cases and being vigilant about using larvicide in areas of stagnant water.

Oklahoma City is working with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department to monitor the spread of the disease and effective abatement.

"In Oklahoma City we are doing our best to eliminate areas of stagnant water such as drainage areas," OKC spokesperson Kristy Yager said. "On city property we use a mosquito growth inhibitor system that prevents larvae from developing wings to fly."

At the City-County Health Department the experts are still recommending personal spraying as an individual's best protection from the potentially deadly virus.

"The use of aerial insecticide is controversial. We are taking a different approach and encourage all Oklahomans to eliminate stagnant water on their personal property and spraying their body with DEET bug spray when they are spending time outdoors," Public Health Protection Chief Phil Maytubby said.

LINK: Get more information on West Nile Virus here from the City-County Health Department.

LINK: OCCHD West Nile Fact Sheet

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