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Community Advisory – West Nile positive mosquitoes in SCHR

The risk for West Nile virus (WNV) is increasing in Sun Country Health Region with the identification of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes in the Region. This is one month earlier than in 2012.

The Saskatchewan government's risk map has moved to “moderate” for SCHR. Go to the map to see what the risk is - http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-risk.

The Culex tarsalis mosquitos have been in SCHR traps for a couple of weeks. Four new WNV-positive mosquito pools were reported July 26, all in the Estevan traps.

With these positive tests, it's important to take precautions to reduce your risk of exposure to the West Nile virus, says Dr. Shauna Hudson, Sun Country Health Region's Medical Health Officer.

The most important thing is to avoid all mosquito bites, but particularly at the times that the mosquitos carrying WNV are most active, which is at dusk. Remember to use an insect repellent with DEET.

“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,” 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.

For more information on WNV, go to the Saskatchewan Government website at http:///www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-virus

Please also check out the following links for more information:

 1.  WNV Awareness and Prevention - http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-virus-awareness-prevention 

  2.  Weekly West Nile Virus reports from the Ministry of Health -  http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-culex-reports 

  3.  Current WNV Surveillance results - http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/wnv-surveillance-results  

  4.  Historic WNV Surveillance results - http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/wnv-surveillance-results-archive  

   5. Current WNV risk levels - http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/west-nile-risk

Updated July 29.

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