Oklahoma weather forces early start of West Nile monitoring

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TULSA, Okla. – Spring rains and mild temperatures are forcing Oklahoma health officials to trap and test mosquitoes for West Nile virus earlier than normal.

The Tulsa World reports that testing for the mosquito-borne virus generally begins around Memorial Day.

But Scott Meador, vector control coordinator with the Tulsa Health Department, says West Nile has been detected in the first test collections of the summer for the past two years.

With a warm and wet spring, Meador says the agency decided to place traps beginning May 1.

Meador says the Culex genus mosquitoes that carry West Nile typically are associated with warmer weather but have turned up earlier in the year the past two years.

The mosquitoes are trapped and tested to detect insects carrying diseases like West Nile, Zika and others.

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