The Sunrise Health Region administration is reminding residents to be aware of mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile Virus.
Because of the hot and dry weather conditions, there are fewer mosquitoes this year than during previous years. However, these conditions are the most favourable for Culex Tarsalis, the type of mosquito that spreads West Nile.
Culex Tarsalis mosquito numbers usually peak in late July and through the month of August. The few mosquitoes encountered at this time are most likely Culex Tarsalis.
Culex Tarsalis mosquitoes have been found in this area and have caused West Nile virus illness in previous years. The risk of West Nile is expected to increase in the next few weeks as these mosquitoes are expected to become infected with the virus.
Precautions to help reduce your expo-sure to mosquito bites include:
- Plan for outdoor activities at times other than dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are the most active;
- Wear light coloured, long-sleeve clothing;
- Use an appropriate mosquito repellant containing DEET;
- Ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout;
- Mosquito-proof your home by checking and repairing window screens;
- Keep your property free of standing water when possible, watch for pockets where rainwater can collect and mosquitoes can breed such as inside old tires, empty flower pots, eaves troughs and bird baths; and
- Keep bushes, shrubs and lawns clear of overgrowth and debris.
Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus experience no symptoms or mild illness (fever, head-aches, body aches). However, the virus can result in serious neurological illness such as encephalitis (inﬂammation of the brain) which can have long-term complications and can even cause death.