Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus. The latest B.C. victims of the disease are two horses near Cache Creek.

Infected horses serve as West Nile reminder

Two Cache Creek horses first sign of virus in B.C. this year

Positive tests for West Nile virus in two horses near Cache Creek serve as a fresh reminder that humans could also be infected by the mosquito-borne disease, health officials say.

“It’s not too surprising,” said deputy provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. “But it would be the first indication we have this year of any West Nile virus activity.”

She noted the two horses haven’t yet been confirmed as West Nile cases by the province. They were reported Monday by the Society of B.C. Veterinarians, which cautioned owners of horses against scrimping on their vaccinations.

There have been three bitten-in-B.C. West Nile infections among people over the years, in addition to the more than 40 other cases contracted out of province.

All the local infections happened in 2009 in the Southern Interior, Henry said, with most of the positive tests of mosquitoes and birds occurring in the South Okanagan.

Henry said horses act as “end hosts” like humans – they don’t act as a virus reservoir like corvid birds.

“This is another indicator that West Nile virus can be out there,” she said. “This would be the highest risk time of year.”

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito have no symptoms but in about 20 per cent of cases, those infected develop a fever, headaches and rash. About one in 150 will experience severe complications such as meningitis and about one in 1,000 will die.

The best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites: wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants, especially in the early morning and evening; use repellants with DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil; and eliminate standing water in your yard.

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

Just Posted

Summerland Steam earn two weekend wins

Junior B team defeats Osoyoos Coyotes and Kelowna Chiefs

Third South Okanagan show added for PAW Patrol Live!

A third show was announced for the PAW Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure show at the SOEC

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

Ministry investigating need for highway barriers between Summerland and Peachland

Petition to install barriers garners nearly 15,000 signatures in just days

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

Viral Okanagan singer to serve up Moore music

Justin Moore to release new video starring opera singer mom

U.S. officials confirm first case of Wuhan coronavirus near Seattle

The U.S. is the fifth country to report seeing the illness

Okanagan curlers book ticket to BC Mixed Doubles Championships

Kelowna’s Elsie Everst and Adam Cseke look to advance to national stage

HERGOTT: Honesty in the courtroom

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Local Lizzie: Be kind, always

Lizzie Skelton is a UBC Okanagan student who writes a column for Black Press

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Most Read