Manitoba Health issues a West Nile virus update

Manitoba Health reports the analysis of the adult mosquitoes trapped for the week of June 6 found low numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in some communities in southern Manitoba.

None of the mosquitoes collected to date have tested positive for West Nile virus. Preliminary trap information for the week of June 13 also indicates low numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes.

Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are the mosquitoes most likely to carry West Nile virus. It is possible that there are some infected Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in southern Manitoba at this time, however the risk of exposure to West Nile virus is predicted to be low. The risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus will increase in the coming weeks.

Most of the mosquitoes collected have been nuisance mosquitoes, which do not carry West Nile virus. Weekly average trap counts of Culex tarsalis by regional health authority are available on the province’s West Nile virus website at www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv.

Information on the risk of West Nile virus 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.

Manitobans can reduce the risk of mosquito bites 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 mosquitoes around their home by reducing standing water. To prevent the development of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, homeowners can:

. clean eavestroughs and regularly empty bird baths and other items that might collect water,

. ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout,

. clear yards of old tires or other items that collect water, and

. improve landscaping to prevent standing water around the home.

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