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

Okanagan Wildfires: An evening update on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday evening look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

ZONE 2: Summerland twins bring ultimate competition to the BC Summer Games

Brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford are each other’s main motivators

Wildfires still keeping residents from their homes

Many homes still on evacuation orders or alerts in South Okanagan

Progress being made on Okanagan wildfires

Danger not over, fires could flare up again

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

Mount Conkle fire grew but 90 per cent guarded

The wildfire has grown to an estimated 118 hectares from 93 hectares last night

Update:Mount Eneas wildfire holds at 1,374 hectares

The wildfire is still considered out of control

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Update: Okanagan Mountain Park fire holds at 400 hectares

The wildfire, also called Goode’s Creek wildfire, continues to burn near Kelowna

Most Read