Grayson Co. ships out mosquito samples for testing

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DENISON, TX-The West Nile death toll climbs to 54 in Texas and Oklahoma health officials also see a jump in reported cases of the virus Tuesday. The Oklahoma State Health Department released a report that West Nile cases in Oklahoma jumped to 144, 15 of those are from Carter County. In Texas, there are over a thousand cases of West Nile, ten from Grayson county. Tuesday, health officials sent off some mosquito samples to be tested for the virus.

Grayson county residents are still worried about West Nile.

"I wasn't but I've seen in the news and it said how 49 people in like Collin county died from it and there's ten in Grayson county," said Mary Morrissey.

"I am because I'm actually being over 50, it says it has more of an effect on us," said Kay Pykonn.

Grayson county health officials understood their concern, that's why they packed 16 mosquito samples Tuesday afternoon to be shipped to a lab at Texas A&M to be tested.

"I think the public needs to be aware on what kind of action they need to take and we need to be aware to protect the community if the West Nile Virus is actually present in the mosquitoes that we have here in our county. It's gonna help us protect the community," said Grayson County Health Department's Amanda Ortez.

She said those mosquitoes have been collected from traps set up in Sherman, Denison and Whitesboro several days ago.

Van Ulrich traps and prepares the mosquitoes to be sent out. He said Asian Tiger mosquitoes and the Culex-q mosquitoes are the most common in Grayson county, The Culex are known to be carriers of the West Nile Virus.

"There may be one or two Asian Tigers in there or another species but the Culex is the one, and I just kinda separate the Culex, the labs like a clean sample so we separate them out and I count them as I go and then I put them in the test tubes," he said.

Ortez said analysis can take up to one week and while cooler temperatures are now here, it doesn't mean the West Nile is gone.

"Some speculate that because of the colder weather that we may have a little bit of a downturn in the actual West Nile Virus cases, that is a possibility. But that can occur through at least the end of October to November," she said.

"I hope that they do spray for it if they do find the west nile disease, I really do," said Pykonn.

"That's to be determined and that's of course what percentage and how many of the traps that have been set throughout the county will be positive or negative," said Ortez.

Ortez said this is not the last step the county is taking against the West Nile.They will be setting up more mosquito traps tomorrow.
The results from the first samples are not back yet, but once they are available, she said the county will determine its plan of action.

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