Health officials issue mosquito warning

The mass of mosquitoes feeding on us to date in the Fraser Valley are not the kind that carry the West Nile virus.

But the two kinds that may carry the virus have been found in recent sampling, and the B.C. Centre For Disease Control is advising Fraser Valley residents to start taking precautions against mosquito bites.

New mosquitoes prompt West Nile warning.

The mass of mosquitoes feeding on us to date in the Fraser Valley are not the kind that carry the West Nile virus.

But the two kinds that may carry the virus have been found in recent sampling, and the B.C. Centre For Disease Control is advising Fraser Valley residents to start taking precautions against mosquito bites.

“None of the mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus,” Dr. Bonnie Henry told The Progress in a telephone interview Thursday.

“But because we are starting to see an increase in the type that may carry the virus … we’re warning people to think about mosquito bites and to take precautions.”

Those precautions include using insect repellent, especially in the mornings and evenings when mosquitoes are most active, draining all sources of standing water around homes, and wearing light-colored, long-sleeved clothing when out of doors.

As the mosquito population increases, so does the population of the two species that may carry the virus, the Culex tarsalis, which lives in water-filled ditches and along rivers, and the Culex pipiens, which lives in catch basins and under houses.

“The ones we have been seeing in large numbers in the Fraser Valley are the Culex tarsalis,” Dr. Henry said in an email to The Progress.

“We have also seen some Culex pipiens in the traps set by Fraser Health, but the numbers of Culex tarsalis in the traps are what prompted the warning today to take precautions to prevent bites,” she said.

The FVRD has an on-going program to eradicate mosquitoes found in area flood waters, and in municipal catch basins through-out the region. So far, the region expects to spend an estimated $260,000 on mosquito control, about $100,000 more than budgeted, due to the prolonged high water level of the Fraser River, which has increased mosquito breeding grounds.

No human cases of WN virus infection have been reported to date in the Fraser Valley.

But in September, 2009 a horse in the Langley area was infected, suggesting the virus had made its way here from the south Okanagan where it made its first appearance in B.C. three weeks earlier.

It’s believed the virus had migrated from Washington State, traveling up the Columbia River to the Okanagan, where two confirmed cases in humans were reported in August, 2009.

Health officials said most people infected by the virus will not show any symptoms. About 20 per cent will show flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, rash, swollen glands and sensitivity to light.

Only about one-in-150 will experience serious illness due to nervous system complications that can, on rare occasions, be fatal.

The Fraser Health Authority collects dead crows for testing because they often die first as a result of WN virus infection. Early detection allows health officials to implement plans to minimize human health risk.

“Residents play a big role in West Nile surveillance,” said Glenn Embree, the FHA’s manager of health protection programs.

“Without public participation, early detection of WN virus is difficult,” he said. “We urge Fraser residents to report dead crows to the Fraser Health’s West Nile Virus Toll-Free reporting line, 1-888-968-5463.”

Concerned citizens may also call that number for information about mosquito breeding habitat on private lands in the Fraser Health region.

For more information about the West Nile virus, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website at www.bccdc.ca.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Just Posted

VIDEO: Cars on Campus in Chilliwack

Photos of this year’s Fraser Valley British Motor Club’s annual vintage car show in Chilliwack

PHOTOS: Pikeminnow derby brings families together at Cultus Lake

The annual Lions Pikeminnow Derby takes place on Father’s Day weekend in Chilliwack

UPDATE: Incident along train tracks shuts down Eagle Landing Parkway for several hours

The Chilliwack Progress has reached out to RCMP for further details

VIDEO: Fire destroys Chilliwack home on Bearstone Place

RCMP comfirm everyone got out of the house safely during Saturday morning fire

PHOTOS: Sasquatch Days about ‘being proud of being Sts’ailes’

The joint event between Harrison and Sts’ailes returned to the village for its eighth year

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Parents of BC murder victim want personal belongings returned

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Pride flag taken down by Township of Langley

Woman said she was told it was removed from her front yard because of a complaint

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read