WINNIPEG — Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus have been found in Manitoba.
On Thursday, the Province of Manitoba said six mosquito pools collected last week tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV). The pools were collected from Oakbank, Morris, East St. Paul, and Winnipeg.
“Despite the first detection of WNV activity this season, there are no plans to conduct adult mosquito control at this time,” the province said in its weekly surveillance report.
There have been no positive WNV surveillance indicators in animals in Manitoba, and the province said there have been no reported cases in humans.
It said with the detection of the WNV positive mosquito pools, along with the hot and dry conditions – there is an elevated risk of exposure to the virus.
“As a result, Manitobans are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to minimize their risk while enjoying outdoor activities over the next few weeks.”
The Culex tarsalis mosquito, which carries West Nile virus, has been increasing in Manitoba this summer, a provincial spokesperson told CTV News.
Local entomologist Taz Stuart said all it takes is one bite to become infected, and says the upcoming long weekend is one of the riskiest for people.
“This is the second and third generation of Culex tarsalis, so they could be infected or infective, meaning they can transmit through a dead-end host like a human,” he said.
Stuart said approximately 1 in 150 people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus will get a severe form of West Nile virus, which can lead to the development of encephalitis and meningitis, and even death in some cases.
The province said Manitobans should spend less time outside during dawn and dusk – the peak mosquito hours. Manitobans are encouraged to use mosquito repellant, and wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pant legs.
Homeowners should also make sure door and window screens are fitted tightly with no holes.
The province said anyone with concerns about the West Nile Virus should call their doctor or Health Links at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257.
This is a developing story. More to come.
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