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.

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

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

RCMP investigating June 15, 2021 crash. (Black Press file)
Chilliwack RCMP say crash into median led to impaired driver investigation

Chrysler 300 driver allegedly collided with tree on Spadina median in June 15 incident

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read