NEWS

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus found in Oakbank

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Fact sheets, posters and information for municipalities and health-care providers

Fight the bite

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday, August 1, 2014

Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors reports that its mosquito surveillance program has identified this season's first Culex tarsalis mosquito samples infected with West Nile virus (WNV). At this time, no human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Manitoba.

The infected mosquitoes were collected during the week of July 20 from an adult mosquito trap in Oakbank. Based on the most recent information, the numbers of infected mosquitoes are predicted to be low for this area. The current estimated risk does not warrant an order for adult mosquito control.

The bulk of mosquitoes collected in adult mosquito traps continue to be nuisance mosquitoes which do not transmit WNV. However, the number of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes trapped during the week of July 20 has increased in several communities across southern Manitoba. Preliminary trap information for the week of July 27 indicates that, with the exception of some communities in the Southern Health region, the numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes decreased from the previous week.

The potential for human exposure to infected Culex tarsalis mosquitoes is present throughout southern Manitoba. The risk of exposure to WNV is expected to continue in the coming weeks, particularly if warm and dry conditions persist, as these are ideal for Culex tarsalis development and activity.

Manitobans can reduce the risk of mosquito bites and exposure to West Nile virus by:

  • Reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during peak mosquito hours between dusk and dawn;
  • Using appropriate mosquito repellent;
  • Wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing; and
  • Maintaining door and window screens so they fit tightly and are free of holes.

Manitobans can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by eliminating standing water. To prevent the development of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, homeowners can:

  • Clean eavestroughs and regularly empty bird baths, old tires and other items that collect water;
  • Ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout; and
  • Improve landscaping to prevent standing water around the home.

The province offers a cost-shared larviciding program for municipalities and communities to take steps to help control Culex tarsalis mosquitoes. To date this year, 56 communities are participating in the program.

Information on the risk of WNV will continue to be provided to the public throughout the summer in a media campaign and at various fairs and festivals. Manitobans can also check the West Nile virus website regularly for up-to-date data and information.

More information about West Nile virus, including weekly average trap counts of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, fact sheets, posters and information for municipalities and health-care providers, is available here.

Manitobans can also contact Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or at 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.

Source: Province of Manitoba 

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