Interior Health on alert for West Nile cases

The mosquito species most likely to carry West Nile virus is most active in August.

West Nile virus is a disease that is spread from infected corvid birds to humans through mosquito bites. It was first detected in B.C. in the South Okanagan during the summer of 2009.

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The risk of becoming seriously ill from West Nile virus infection is low for most people; however, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk.

Interior Health offers the following tips:

• Prevent mosquito breeding around your home by removing standing water.

 • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn.

• Wear protective clothing — loose fitting, light-coloured, full-length pants and a long-sleeved shirt. 

• Use mosquito repellent on all areas of skin.

Interior Health said the risk of infection from handling birds is very low; however, people should not use bare hands to handle wild birds (dead or alive). If you need to move a dead bird, precautions should be taken. Unusual clusters of dead birds can be reported to the BC Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation at 1-866-431-BIRD (2473).

 Mosquitoes can also transmit West Nile virus to horses and occasionally to other animals. Horse owners are advised to contact their veterinarians for information about equine vaccines for West Nile virus.

© Kamloops This Week


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