Interior Health warns of increased West Nile virus risk through August

Since first detected in B.C. in the summer of 2009, there have been five human cases of the virus

With August, comes mosquitos.

And mosquitos being out and about means we need to be careful and take precautions to prevent West Nile virus.

Interior Health said the mosquitos that are most likely to carry the virus are most active throughout August. West Nile is spread from infected birds to humans through mosquito bites.

READ MORE: Mount Miller wildfire on Okanagan Connector increases to .80 hectares

READ MORE: No bull: unusual sighting on the Okanagan Rail Trail

The virus was first detected in B.C. in 2009, with five human cases since that time. All cases were locally acquired in the Okanagan. Last year, the virus was detected in a bird and a horse in the East Kootenay area.

Despite the low risk of infection, Interior Health recommends you don’t handle wild birds with your bare hands (dead or alive). If a dead bird must be moved, precautions should be taken. Unusual clusters of dead birds can be reported to the BC Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation at 1-866-431-BIRD (2473).

Horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarian about equine vaccinations for West Nile virus.

The risk of serious illness coming from West Nile virus is low for most people, but the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk.

Interior Health lists the following ways to protect yourself and others from the virus:

  • Prevent mosquito breeding around your home. It doesn’t take much time or water for mosquitoes to develop from eggs into adults. Anything that can hold water can be a mosquito breeding area. Identify and remove potential breeding areas on your property – empty saucers under flowerpots; change water in birdbaths twice a week; unclog rain gutters; drain tarps, tires, and other debris where rainwater may collect; and, install a pump in ornamental ponds or stock them with fish. Stagnant backyard pools can be a big source of mosquitoes and should be maintained regularly to prevent mosquito growth.
  • Install screens on windows. Screens will help prevent mosquitoes from coming indoors.
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn. This is the time of day the mosquitoes that can carry the virus are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing. If you are in an area with lots of mosquitoes, wear loose-fitting, light-coloured, full-length pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Use mosquito repellent. Apply mosquito repellent to areas of exposed skin. Check the product label for instructions on proper use. Repellents containing DEET are safe for those over six months of age when used according to the directions on the label. DEET-free products are available, but may not provide long-lasting protection. View the HealthLinkBC file on DEET for guidelines on how frequently to apply repellent.

@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lakecity youth mentored by Harvest Fair ventriloquist

Kellie Haines has made a lifelong personal connection with aspiring performer Zach Gillespie

Stamps to host Kanagaroos in home opener this Saturday, Oct. 19

Stamps currently first in CIHL East Division

Lakecity artists bring creative mini-mural to downtown

Crocodiles, lions, rabbits, penguins and dinosaurs all adorn a lakecity wall

Fatal vehicle incident west of Williams Lake closes down Highway 20

One person is confirmed dead while other passengers have suffered serious to critical injuries

RANCH MUSINGS: Where Love and Business Intersect

It is no secret to people who know us that our family… Continue reading

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read