Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has identified the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) of 2018.
The individual is a child under 10 from the Southern Health – Santé Sud region, who experienced neurological symptoms and was hospitalized. The child was likely exposed in early July. The investigation is ongoing.
Manitobans are reminded that, as they prepare for the August long weekend, the warm and dry conditions to date have been ideal for Culex tarsalis, a carrier of West Nile Virus (WNV). Culex tarsalis typically feeds between dusk and dawn and often goes unnoticed when biting.
While mosquito numbers are low in most communities, surveillance shows the numbers of infected Culex tarsalis continue to increase throughout southern Manitoba. It only takes one bite from an infected Culex tarsalis mosquito to be exposed to WNV. The risk for potential human exposure to WNV is high at present and will likely remain so for the next few weeks.
Manitobans can reduce their risk of mosquito bites and potential WNV exposure by:
- reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during peak mosquito hours (between dusk and dawn);
- 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.
Information on any additional human cases, including health region of residence, will be posted at gov.mb.ca as it becomes available.
For more information about West Nile virus, contact Health Links-Info Santé at 788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free).