Released August 3, 2018
Moderate risk of West Nile virus in Southeast
WEYBURN – Residents in southeastern Saskatchewan are reminded that in late July and August the risk of West Nile virus (WNV) increases when the mosquito that carries the virus (Culex tarsalis) are most active.
Positive pools of mosquitoes have been found in the southeast region for the past two weeks and currently, the risk level for the region is moderate. This past week, one Culex tarsalis caught in a surveillance trap in the Weyburn area was found to be infected with WNV.
“All people in the region need to prevent infections by getting rid of mosquito-friendly places in their yards and taking personal precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the places where they live, work and play,” says Dr. Lanre Medu, Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Weyburn. “People who work outside, especially at dusk and dawn, and those who are camping over the next few weeks are at higher risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and should pay particular attention to preventing these bites.”
Most people who become infected with WNV experience no symptoms or have mild illness (fever, headaches, body aches). If you develop serious symptoms like a persistent fever, confusion, neck stiffness or an unusually severe headache, seek medical attention immediately.
To reduce your risk of infection, take precautions against getting bitten:
- Wear an effective insect repellent containing DEET. Repellents with Icaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also effective. Apply according to directions.
- DRAIN standing water. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. Eliminate or reduce all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs like wading pools, wheelbarrows, containers, rain downspouts and gutters, pet dishes and birdbaths, etc. Reduce places in your yard where adult mosquitoes can thrive like tall grasses and weeds.
- Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors between DUSK and DAWN. The mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active at dawn and dusk and in the early evening. They are especially active for two hours after sunset.
- DRESS appropriately. Wear long sleeves and long pants (wear light-weight clothing to minimize the potential for heat-induced illnesses). Mosquitoes may be more attracted to individuals wearing perfumes and colognes.
- Mosquito-proof your home. Make sure that DOORS and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
For more information on West Nile Vile, see the Government of Saskatchewan website.