Saskatchewan updates West Nile Virus risk map for the upcoming wet season

Saskatchewan’s wet spring has resulted in a significant mosquito hatch. Although the pests emerging now are primarily nuisance species and not the Culex tarsalis mosquito which transmits West Nile Virus, it’s never too early to protect yourself.

"The high-risk period for West Nile Virus in Saskatchewan is typically mid-July through August," Provincial West Nile Virus Co-ordinator Phil Curry said. "However, provincial surveillance activities are on-going and we will continue to keep the public informed if the human health risk increases."

The West Nile Virus risk map is updated weekly and available online at www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-risk.

In addition to $1.1 million in one-time funding to municipalities announced last week to control mosquitoes, preventative measures will be taken in eight Saskatchewan communities that have been identified for control of Culex tarsalis mosquito habitat.

Additional funding for targeted larviciding activities during late June and July will be provided for Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Estevan, Regina, Weyburn, Yorkton, Melville and Saskatoon. These control activities will be cost-shared with the affected communities.

"The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor Culex tarsalis mosquito populations throughout the province and is committed to protecting those communities where the risk of West Nile Virus is greatest," Provincial Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Moira McKinnon said. "However, taking personal precautions to reduce the risk remains the best form of protection against West Nile Virus."

Personal precautions include:

Wearing insect repellent containing DEET;
Wearing protective clothing;
Reducing your time spent outdoors at dawn and at dusk; and
Reducing mosquito habitat where you live, play and work.

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