Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has identified the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year. The individual, a male in his 40s from the Southern Health – Santé Sud region, experienced neurological symptoms and was hospitalized. He is believed to have been exposed during the week of July 17. The investigation is ongoing.
Historically, this is a high risk period for West Nile Virus activity in Manitoba. Although the cool weather experienced this past weekend reduced Culex tarsalis numbers, the department estimates the current risk for human exposure is moderate.
In Manitoba, the main carrier of the virus is the Culex tarsalis mosquito. The department’s surveillance program found this season’s first Culex tarsalis mosquito samples infected with WNV during the week of July 17.
Manitobans can reduce the risk of mosquito bites by:
• reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during peak mosquito hours;
• using appropriate mosquito repellent;
• wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing; and
• maintaining door and window screens so they fit tightly and are free of holes.
Manitobans can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by eliminating standing water. To prevent the development of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, homeowners can:
• clean eaves troughs and regularly empty bird baths and other items that might collect water,
• ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout,
• clear yards of old tires or other items that collect water, and
• improve landscaping to prevent standing water around the home.