Media Bulletin - Chief Provincial Public Health Officer
July 16, 2008
WEST NILE VIRUS UPDATE #6
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health reports that preliminary analysis of the adult mosquito traps for the week of July 13 indicates an increase in the numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in communities in southern Manitoba. However, the numbers are still considered low.
To date, no West Nile virus infected mosquitoes have been identified in 2008. It is possible that Culex tarsalis mosquitoes may be present in southern Manitoba and mosquito surveillance is continuing.
In previous years, the peak risk periods for human exposure to West Nile virus has been the last two weeks of July and the first two to three weeks of August. As this time period approaches, it is expected the risk of exposure to West Nile virus will increase.
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.