Warm weather causes mosquito increase

B.C.’s cool spring season temperatures have helped keep the mosquito population in check.

  • Aug. 5, 2011 10:00 a.m.

B.C.’s cool spring season temperatures have helped keep the mosquito population in check.

However, with temperatures on the rise, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning that the mosquito population is increasing, and some of these mosquitoes may carry West Nile virus (WNV).

Increases have been seen particularly in the Okanagan and the Fraser Valley, and the public should to take appropriate precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

WNV is transmitted from birds to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The BCCDC, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, routinely monitors for WNV throughout the province.

To date this year, there have been no positive test results from human, animal, or mosquito samplings in B.C., Oregon, or Washington State. However, as the mosquito population increases, so does the risk.

One individual in Ontario who had been travelling out of the country is the only Canadian known to have tested positive so far this year.

“However, individuals still need to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid being bit,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, physician epidemiologist with the BCCDC. “Simple things such as using repellents outdoors, particularly in the evening and early morning when mosquitoes are most active, is a good protective measure.”

Eighty per cent of people who are bitten by a mosquito and infected with WNV will not have any symptoms. About 20 per cent of infected people may develop some symptoms, including fever, fatigue, headaches and swollen lymph glands. In rare cases (one in 150), WNV can cause severe illness, such as inflammation in or around the brain (encephalitis or meningitis), or polio-like paralysis, that can occasionally result in death.

There are many things that British Columbians should do to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes that may carry WNV, including:

• Remove any standing water outdoors from empty containers (e.g. flower pots, wheel barrows, old tires, barrels, tin cans, and even bottle tops) at least twice a week

• Drill holes in used containers, so water can’t collect

• Change water in bird baths twice weekly

• Immediately remove water that collects on swimming pool covers, and ensure that the pool’s pump is circulating

• Clear leaves and twigs from eaves and storm gutters throughout the summer into early fall, so water doesn’t pool or collect

• Check flat roofs frequently for standing water — you can apply environmentally safe mosquito larvicides available at garden centres to standing water that cannot be drained

• Ensure that drains and drainage ditches are not clogged

• Stop mosquitoes from entering your home or other premises (check windows and door screens for holes or tears, and make sure they fit snugly into their frames)

• Take personal protective measures outdoors, such as wearing long sleeves and pants (weather permitting) with light colours and a tight weave, as well as a hat — especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes that can carry WNV are most active

• Use federally registered mosquito repellents such as those containing DEET and PMD (also known as lemon-eucalyptus oil), strictly according to directions. Re-apply repellents as often as necessary.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

A COVID-19 sign is seen last spring at the First Nations community of Canim Lake (Tsq’ scen). (Martina Dopf photo)
Another Canim Lake elder dies of COVID-19

The man was the husband of an elder who died last month outside the community.

Pink Shirt Day is Feb. 24.
This Pink Shirt Day let’s ‘lift each other up’

There are several warning signs regarding bullying:

VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Oliver Elementary School. (File)
Interior Health reports potential COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan elementary school

Interior Health lists two dates for the potential exposure

Most Read