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First WNV positive mosquitos found

Sun Country Health Region's Medical Health Officer Dr. Shauna Hudson reported Thursday that a mosquito pool from the Souris River Valley near Estevan has been found to be positive for West Nile virus.

This is the first WNV positive mosquito pool in Saskatchewan.

"We have found WNV positive mosquito pools at this site for the last three years and it is an area that has had high numbers of Culex tarsalis in the past," said Dr. Hudson. No positive mosquitoes have been found in the City of Estevan at this time," she said.

"People should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites particularly when they are visiting the Woodlawn Regional Park, Mainprize Regional Park, Nickle Lake Regional Park, the golf courses and other areas in the Souris River Valley," she said.

Dr. Hudson also stressed that it is important for people living throughout the Sun Country Health Region to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as we can expect to see positive mosquito pools in other locations over the coming weeks.

Sun Country Health Region Senior Public Health Inspector Grant Paulson said the City of Estevan and the Rural Municipality of Estevan have been applying larvacide to mosquito breeding areas and in and around the city since early May.

"This program will continue throughout the summer," he said.

Sun Country Health Region will continue to operate mosquito monitoring traps on a weekly basis to track the over-all density of the mosquito population as well to determine the types of mosquitoes and their West Nile Virus infection rates.

Paulson said the Region's traps showed during the week of July 22 that rising numbers of second generation Culex tarsalis are being reported from many localities throughout the health region, especially the Estevan collection site.

"Development and emergence times for this species continue to be normal but we will definitely see substantially higher numbers than we saw in 2003 and 2004," said Paulson.

Ninety (90) mosquito pools (83 Culex tarsalis and 7 Culex restuans) had been tested by the Provincial Lab before July 22 and all have been negative for WNV until the Estevan pool this week.

All pools have been negative for Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) as well.

To July 22, 68 birds have been tested province-wide, with eight crows testing positive in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health during the last week of July.

There have been no positive horses reported in the province to date. The horse surveillance program, using sentinel veterinary clinics located across Saskatchewan, began on July 4.

For more information, please call Dr. Shauna Hudson, Sun Country Health Region medical health office at 842-8659

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