West Nile virus precautions urged

Although West Nile virus showed up in the Okanagan Valley in 2009, the disease remains rare.

Although West Nile virus showed up in the Okanagan Valley in 2009, the disease remains rare.

Still, the Interior Health Authority is urging people to take measures to reduce the spread of the disease.

West Nile virus is spread from infected birds to people through mosquito bites.

Since 2009, three cases have been reported in the province, all in the Okanagan. Last year, there were no reported cases. “It’s not as great a concern as we had originally speculated,” said Kevin Touchet, manager of environmental health with the Interior Health Authority.

The disease has been more prevalent in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Washington State.

Touchet said the presence of the Rocky Mountains has kept the virus from moving west. The climate of the Okanagan Valley has also kept West Nile virus from spreading more quickly here.

About one in five of those who are bitten by an infected mosquito will show symptoms of the disease. Fewer than one in 100 will have serious problems from the disease.

Touchet said some prevention can begin at home, by getting rid of potential mosquito breeding grounds.

This includes draining stagnant pools of water, emptying water from wheelbarrows after a rain and cleaning out eaves or birdbaths where water tends to collect.

For those going to areas where mosquitoes are present, the Interior Heath Authority urges a few precautions.

o Use mosquito repellent. Products containing DEET are safe if the label precautions are followed.

o Wear protective clothing. Dark clothing tends to attract mosquitos. In areas with lots of mosquitoes, wear loose, full-fitting pants and long-sleeved shirts. Avoid using perfumes, soaps, hair care products and lotions with floral fragrances.

o Install mosquito screens on windows and consider staying inside between dusk and dawn and in the early evening.

o Prevent mosquito breeding around your home. Stagnant pools can be a big source of mosquitoes.

The province tests dead birds in the corvid family, including crows, ravens, magpies and jays, since these birds are more likely to die from West Nile Virus.

People can report dead corvid birds to the province. Visit the B.C. Centre for Disease Control Dead Bird Reporting page at bccdc.ca/dis-cond/a-z/_w/WestNileVirus/Surveillance/WNvDeadBirdReporting.htm.

In addition, Interior Health traps mosquitoes at 14 sites in the Southern Interior and sends them to a provincial lab for testing.

 

Just Posted

Open houses regarding transit between Penticton and Kelowna

The meetings will be held in Summerland, Princeton, Penticton, Peachland and Osoyoos on Dec. 4 and 5

Third fatality in 24 hours on South Okanagan roads

A vehicle incident closed Highway 3 for five hours Monday night

CONTEST: New year, new you

KimXO has partnered with Black Press Media and Third Space for a brand new contest

Summerland couple donates $30,000 to hospital campaign

Donation will go to medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion

South Okanagan Similkameen leading in referendum ballot returns

Pro Rep group offering Nov. 22 information session

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read