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First Culex tarsalis mosquitoes caught in 2010

Small numbers of the Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, that can transmit West Nile virus, were caught in some of the mosquito traps set up in Sun Country Health Region during the first week of June.

Although the risk is very low right now, it's time to start taking precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to the West Nile Virus this summer, says Dr. Shauna Hudson, Sun Country Health Region's Medical Health Officer.

The first generations of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes were trapped earlier this year than in 2008 and 2009 - when they were identified later in June.

Dr. Hudson says it's still too early to predict the risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus this summer. The weather conditions this spring are resulting in an early emergence of the first generation of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes.

The risk will be increasing in the coming weeks with the warmer weather when the mosquitoes become infected with WNV.

People should start now to mosquito proof their home and reduce or eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can complete their life cycle, says Dr. Hudson.

“Most mosquitoes out there now are nuisance mosquitoes but everyone should start now to get in to the habit of taking personal precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the places where they live, work and play - even during low risk periods,” she says.

Dr Hudson recommends that members of the public follow the "FIVE Ds:"  

  1. Wear a good insect repellant with DEET. Apply according to directions.
  2. DRAIN standing water. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. Eliminate or reduce all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs, like wading pools, wheelbarrows, containers, rain downspouts and gutters, pet dishes and birdbaths, etc. Reduce places in the yard where adult mosquitoes can thrive - like tall grasses and weeds.
  3. Avoid going out during DUSK and DAWN. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active at dawn and dusk and also in the early evening. They are especially active for two hours after sunset.
  4. DRESS appropriately. Wear long sleeves and long pants (wear light-weight clothing to minimize the potential for heat-induced illnesses). Mosquitoes may be more attracted to individuals wearing perfumes and colognes.
  5. Mosquito-proof your home. Make sure that DOORS and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

The mosquito surveillance program in Sun Country Health Region began the first week in June. Mosquito traps have been set up in three communities in SCHR and are key indicators in the provincial mosquito surveillance program.

For more information on West Nile Virus, go to Sun Country Health Website at www.suncountry.sk.ca or the Saskatchewan Government website at www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-virus.

 Media: Please contact Dr. Shauna Hudson, Sun Country Health Region Medical Health Officer at (306) 842-8659.  

 

 

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