Risk of exposure is currently low, but likely to increase in coming weeks
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Manitoba Health reports that Culex tarsalis mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus (WNV) were collected from the Rural Municipality of Headingley last week. This is the first mosquito pool that has tested positive in Manitoba this season.
The risk of exposure to WNV is currently low, but likely to increase in the coming weeks, as the highest risk period is historically in July and August. Manitobans are reminded that it takes just a single bite from an infected mosquito to contract WNV.
While most people who are infected will develop mild or no symptoms, some can develop severe symptoms that can result in hospital stays and even death. Recovery from WNV infection, particularly severe symptoms, can take months or years.
While Manitobans are encouraged to enjoy outdoor activities, it is critical to reduce the risk of mosquito bites and potential exposure to WNV by:
- reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during peak mosquito hours between dusk and dawn;
- using an appropriate mosquito repellent;
- wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pant legs;
- maintaining door and window screens; and
- cleaning and emptying yard items that collect water.
Between 2017 and 2021, there were 45 cases of WNV in Manitoba. Nine cases were hospitalized and four required intensive care. No confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Manitoba yet this year.
WNV updates will continue to be shared with the public throughout the summer.
For more information about prevention, symptoms, weekly average trap counts of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, fact sheets, posters and information for municipalities and health-care providers, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv/
Manitobans can also contact Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or at 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.