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West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a disease of birds that is occasionally spread to humans through mosquitos.
To help Saskatchewan residents better understand their level of risk for contracting West Nile Virus, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health offers a visual tool called a RISK MAP.
The colour-coded risk map allows residents to see their risk of contracting WNV by health region. The map is based on the number of WNV- infected mosquitoes caught in surveillance traps around the province. In SCHR, there are three mosquito traps in Estevan and three traps in Weyburn.
The risk map will be updated weekly until the end of the risk season from the end of June through September. The map can be found here: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus/west-nile-virus-risk-level-and-surveillance-results.
The SCHR Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shauna Hudson, has some useful tips that will help you prevent mosquito bites and reducing places where mosquitoes live. These will help reduce your and your family lower their risk later in the summer when more Culex tarsalis mosquitos are around and West Nile virus infected mosquitos are identified.
Dr. Hudson says "The most important thing is to avoid all mosquito bites, but particularly at the times that the mosquitos carrying West Nile virus are most active, which is at dusk and dawn."
"People should remember to use an insect repellent with DEET and wear protective light-coloured clothing at dusk and dawn. They should reduce the places that mosquitos lay eggs, by reducing the standing water in the places where they work and play. They should also mosquito-proof their home."
Dr. Hudson and Dr. Medu recommend that members of the public follow the 5 –D’s.
- Wear a good insect repellant with DEET. Apply according to directions.
- DRAIN standing water. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle. Eliminate or reduce all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs, like wading pools, wheelbarrows, containers, rain downspouts and gutters, pet dishes and birdbaths, etc. Reduce places in the yard where adult mosquitoes can thrive - like tall grasses and weeds.
- Avoid going out during DUSK and DAWN. The mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active at dawn and dusk and also in the early evening. They are especially active for two hours after sunset.
- DRESS appropriately. Wear long sleeves and long pants (wear light-weight clothing to minimize the potential for heat-induced illnesses). Mosquitoes may be more attracted to individuals wearing perfumes and colognes.
- Mosquito-proof your home. Make sure that DOORS and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
It is also important that residents be mindful of the warm weather during the summer months and ensure the following:
Keep hydrated by increasing your fluid intake and drinking fluids before you feel thirsty. This is especially important if you are exercising or working in the heat.
Use an umbrella.
Plan regular breaks in the shade.
For more information on WNV and surveillance, go to the Saskatchewan Government website at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/health/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus.
For more information, please contact a SCHR Public Health Inspector at 1-888-295-8005.
Updated July 2016