Media Bulletin - Chief Provincial Public Health Officer
June 12, 2007
WEST NILE VIRUS BULLETIN #1
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health reports that Manitoba’s mosquito surveillance program has identified the first Culex tarsalis mosquito samples infected with West Nile virus in Manitoba in 2007.
Two samples of Culex tarsalis collected during the week of June 4 from adult mosquito traps in the town of Boissevain in the Assiniboine Regional Health Authority were positive for West Nile virus. The risk of West Nile virus is considered low and adult mosquito control has not been recommended at this time.
Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are the mosquitoes in Manitoba most likely to carry the West Nile virus. Recent surveillance indicates Culex tarsalis mosquitoes have been found in a number of communities in southern Manitoba.
At this time of year, the risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus is considered to be low but begins to increase. In 2006, the first human exposures occurred in mid- to late-June. To date, no human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Manitoba in 2007.
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 that they fit tightly and are free of holes.
Manitobans can reduce mosquitoes near their homes and in their communities by reducing standing water. To reduce the development of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes:
· clean eavestroughs,
· empty bird baths and other items that might collect water at least once per week,
· cover rain barrels with mosquito screening or maintain tight seals around downspouts, and
· dispose of old tires or other debris that collect water.
Starting Thursday, weekly average trap counts of Culex tarsalis by regional health authority will be available on the province’s West Nile virus website at http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv. Updated information on the risk of West Nile virus will be provided to the public throughout the summer. Manitobans can 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 or visit the Manitoba Health website at http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv.