Sunrise Health Region is reminding residents to be aware of mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile Virus. With wet weather followed by hot weather throughout the region this year, experts are anticipating the mosquito population carrying the virus to increase.
The West Nile Virus is carried by Culex Tarsalis mosquitoes, a species that has been found in this area and caused illness in previous years. The risk of West Nile Virus is anticipated again this summer, but it is impossible to predict whether this summer will be worse or better than in previous years. Culex Tarsalis mosquito numbers usually peak in late July and through the month of August.
Precautions to help reduce your exposure to mosquito bites include:
• Plan for outdoor activities at times other than dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are the most active
• Wear light colored, long-sleeve clothing
• Use an appropriate mosquito repellant containing DEET
• Ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout
• Mosquito-proof your home by checking and repairing window screens
• Keep your property free of standing water when possible, watch for pockets where rainwater can collect and mosquitoes can breed such as inside old tires, empty flower pots, eaves troughs and bird baths
• Keep bushes, shrubs and lawns clear of overgrowth and debris
Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus experience no symptoms or mild illness (fever, headaches, body aches). However, the virus can result in serious neurological illness such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) which can have long-term complications and can even cause death.
For updates on West Nile Virus, including updated surveillance results, risk maps and the weekly “West Nile and Culex Reports” visit: http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-virus
To learn the proper way to use mosquito repellant, visit: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/part/protect-proteger/use-utiliser/_mosquitomoustique/index-eng.php