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Weyburn, Saskatchewan
S4H 2Z9
Tel: (306) 842-8399
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West Nile virus infected mosquitoes identified in Sun Country Health Region

Sun Country’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shauna Hudson wants to notify Sun Country Health Region residents that this risk of West Nile virus is increasing. This past week, some of the mosquitoes (Culex tarsalis) that caught in our surveillance trap were found to be infected with West Nile virus. To decrease their risk of infection, Dr. Hudson is advising residents to take precautions to reduce infection from West Nile virus throughout the rest of the summer. 

Dr Hudson recommends you follow the “FIVE Ds”. All people in the Region need to prevent infections by getting rid of mosquito-friendly places in their yards and take personal precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the places where they live, work and play. Dr. Hudson says “People who work outside, especially at dusk and dawn, need to take make sure to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. People who are camping over the next couple of weeks also need to take precautions.” 

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 your 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 SCHR mosquito surveillance program identified these infected mosquitoes in traps collected on July 21 in the Estevan area. This was one week earlier than last year but over 4 weeks later than when the infected mosquitoes were found in 2007. It is still difficult to predict what the risk of West Nile virus infection will rise to in the coming weeks but it looks like it will be similar to 2008. The numbers of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in the traps are slightly higher than in 2008 and we expect to see these numbers increase in the coming weeks with the recent warm weather and rains. 

A number of communities in SCHR including Estevan, Weyburn and their surrounding rural municipalities have received funding through the provincial West Nile Virus Control Program. Under this program municipalities have worked to reduce mosquito breeding areas, monitor mosquito numbers and apply mosquito larvacide on an ongoing basis.   

For more information on WNV, go to 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.

Date: 2009-07-28

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