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First WNV mosquitos confirmed

The first pool of Culex Tarsalis mosquitos in Saskatchewan to be infected with West Nile Virus in 2007 have been found in Sun Country Health Region.

The pool came from a trap set out in Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) on June 20.

SCHR Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shauna Hudson, says the human risk of West Nile Virus is still low.

"But that is increasing as we see warmer weather," she says. "We are seeing higher than expected numbers of mosquitos for this time of year."

Dr. Hudson says with school ending and the upcoming July 1st long weekend, people need to take precautions to avoid being bitten around their home and in our many parks.

"Taking some simple steps to get into the habit of preventing mosquito bites now and reducing mosquito habitat will help reduce your risk and your family's risk," she says.

"The first important thing is to avoid all mosquito bites, but particularly at the times that the mosquitos that carry WNV are most active at dusk and dawn."

"Use an insect repellent with DEET and wear protective light-coloured clothing at dusk and dawn."

"Reduce the places that mosquitos lay eggs by reducing the standing water in the places where you work and play. Then mosquito-proof your home," she says.

The Director of Public Health for SCHR says there are mosquito monitoring traps at two locations in Weyburn and three locations in Estevan.

Grant Paulson says the traps operate from early June until September. "Specimens from the traps are submitted weekly to track the mosquito population as well to determine the types of mosquitoes and their West Nile Virus infection rates," he says.

"The City of Weyburn, the Rural Municipality of Weyburn, the City of Estevan and the Rural Municipality of Estevan have been applying larvacide to mosquito breeding areas in and around the cities since early May and will continue their programs throughout the summer."

For more information on West Nile Virus, members of the public can go to the Saskatchewan government website.

Media: For more information from the Sun Country Health Region, please call Dr. Shauna Hudson, Medical Health Officer at 530-1859 between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Friday, or Grant Paulson, Director of Public Health at 842-8623.

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