The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health reports that preliminary analysis of the adult mosquito traps for the week of July 7 indicates the numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes remain low in communities in southern Manitoba.
To date, no West Nile virus infected mosquitoes have been identified in 2008. At this time, the risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus is considered low but is expected to increase with warm weather.
The Assiniboine Regional Health Authority has slightly higher Culex tarsalis numbers than the Brandon Regional Health Authority and the rest of southern Manitoba. However, the numbers are still considered low.
Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are the mosquitoes most likely to carry the West Nile virus. At this time, Culex tarsalis mosquitoes represent less than one per cent of the mosquitoes in most traps in southern Manitoba.
The numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are expected to increase over the coming weeks.
To date, no human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Manitoba in the 2008 season.
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.
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.
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.