Manitoba Health and Healthy Living reports that preliminary analysis of the adult mosquitoes trapped for the week of July 12 shows a small increase in Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in southern Manitoba, but the numbers remain relatively low.
Most of the mosquitoes collected have been nuisance mosquitoes, which do not carry West Nile virus.
Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are the mosquitoes most likely to carry West Nile virus. To date, no mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus have been identified in 2009, but it is possible that some are present in southern Manitoba at this time.
In previous years, the peak risk periods for human exposure to West Nile virus have been the last two weeks of July to the first two to three weeks of August. As this time period approaches, the risk of exposure to West Nile virus is expected to increase.
To date, no human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Manitoba in the 2009 season.
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 homes 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.
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. Manitobans can also check the West Nile virus website regularly for up-to-date data and information.
For more information about West Nile virus, contact Health Links–Info Santé at 788-8200 or 1‑888‑315-9257 (toll-free) or visit the Manitoba Health website at www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv.