West Nile Virus is a vector transmitted virus that is carried by mosquitoes. Living in Manitoba, we are never sure what our summers’ weather will consist of, therefore, it is important to always be prepared. The risk of the virus is dependant on the quantity of mosquitoes, which is determined by the amount of precipitation of the summer season.
Mosquitoes enjoy standing water, whether it be the river, water in children’s toys, bird baths, eavestroughs etc.. In order to reduce your risk of West Nile Virus you must eliminate or avoid these types of water sources, especially in the hours that are between dusk and dawn, as that is when mosquitoes are the most active.
If you are unable to eliminate the water source and are outside during the peek times, wether it be for work or leisure, it is important to take all precautions to protect yourself against the virus.
– Wear proper clothing such as loose fitting long sleeved shirts and pants, light coloured clothing, socks, etc.
– Wear an insect repellent and make sure to properly read the label in order to inform yourself on when to re-apply
– Ensure that all doors and windows are free of holes and that you are able to properly close them
If you ever suspect having contracted the virus, see your doctor as soon as possible. Some people may never experience symptoms even though they might have contracted the virus. Severe illness normally occurs in people with weakened or pre-mature immune systems such as older adults and children.
Not all mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus and even fewer are able to transmit the virus. In Manitoba, the species that are more than likely to transmit are called Culex.
The Culex species are located in temperate and freshwater regions, as well as in agricultural settings, which makes Southern Manitoba a very good home for them. They adapt very well to most environment which also makes them that more threatening.
Prevention is key on the subject of the West Nile Virus as there is no treatment or cure.