First signs of West Nile virus this season in B.C. found in Kootenays | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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First signs of West Nile virus this season in B.C. found in Kootenays

A female aedes japonicus mosquito is seen biting a person in this May 2015 handout photograph. Aedes japonicus is a disease-carrying mosquito which has just been confirmed present in Western Canada.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Sean McCann
August 22, 2018 - 10:36 AM

It’s August and in southern B.C. that means West Nile season.

The provincial Animal Health Centre Lab has confirmed two dead ravens from the Kimberley area tested positive for West Nile virus. The Interior Health Authority says in a media release it's the first evidence of West Nile virus activity in the province this year.

No human cases or positive mosquito pools have been identified as yet, nor have any positives been identified through the Canadian Blood Services screening program, Interior Health says. The risk of getting West Nile virus is highest during the warm summer months, usually the end of July through August.

The disease is spread from infected Corvid birds - crows, magpies, ravens, jays and other members of the crow family through mosquito bites.

Interior Health says 80 per cent of humans infected with West Nile will show no symptoms, but some could experience headache, rash, tiredness, fever, sore joints and muscles and sometimes stomach upset. In rare cases, inflammation of the brain and or spinal cord could also occur, causing long lasting disability.

Prevention includes ensuring standing water is drained from around your property, including gutters, birdbaths, saucers under flowerpots, and stagnant water in backyard pools. Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, when mosquitos carrying the virus are most active, wear protective clothing and use an insect repellent containing DEET.

Since 2009 when West Nile virus was first reported in B.C., five humans, 11 mosquito pools, 15 horses and eight birds have tested positive for the virus.

Officials say unusual clusters of dead birds should be reported to the B.C. Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation at 1-866-431-2473.

For more information on West Nile virus go here.

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