Thursday July 12, 2012
'Fight the Bite'
West Nile Virus
by Fraser Health Authority/Voice file photo
close to this bench at Corbould Park during the freshet. Mosquito
eggs which have lain dormant during low water years, are hatched
causing even more of a problem.
the temperatures start to rise, creating ideal conditions for mosquitoes,
Fraser Health is reminding residents to fight the bite.
West Nile Virus (WNV), a disease carried by mosquitoes, can infect people,
as well as other mammals and birds. Most people who become infected do not
have any symptoms, but about 20 per cent will experience flu-like symptoms
such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, rash, swollen glands and
sensitivity to light. About one in 150 infected people experience serious
"The best way to reduce mosquito bites and the risk of WNV is to help limit
the number of mosquitoes in the first place," said Glen Embree, Manager,
Environmental Health Services. "You can prevent mosquito breeding by getting
rid of any standing water on your property. For example, get rid of water in
flower pots, in garbage can lids, in empty bottles on your sundecks, and in
children's toys and patio furniture that have been sitting outside all
Fraser Health, in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control, has a
surveillance program to act as an early detection and public notification
system for WNV. This includes public education, testing of mosquitoes caught
in traps set up throughout the region (Delta to Hope), and monitoring dead
As crows are particularly susceptible and often die as a result of WNV
illness, Fraser Health tracks public reports of dead crows, and collects
some for testing. This is one of the most reliable methods of early
detection. Disease-positive crows often precede the illness in humans by two
to six weeks, allowing health officials to implement pest management plans
to minimize human health risk.
"Residents play a big role in West Nile surveillance," said Embree. "Without
public participation, early detection of WNV is more difficult. We urge
residents in the Fraser Health region to be alert to dead crows and report
them by calling Fraser Health's West Nile Virus Reporting Line."
To report a dead crow or for concerns with mosquito breeding habitat on
private lands in the Fraser Health area, please call and leave a message on
the Fraser Health West Nile Virus Toll-Free Reporting Line at 1-888-WNV-LINE
In 2011 there were no cases of endemic (locally acquired) cases of WNV
anywhere in BC, including the Fraser Health Region, and there have been no
mosquito pools or birds that have tested positive for WNV this season.
Still, health officials are asking people to continue to do what they can to
The best way to reduce the risk of WNV infection is to avoid mosquito bites
by remembering the four "D"s:
Drain: Keep your property free of standing and stagnant water as this
can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This means getting rid of water in
flower pots, garbage can lids, old tires and other items that may collect
rain water, changing water in bird baths twice a week, unclogging gutters
and emptying wading pools when not in use.
Dusk and dawn: Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Cover up
and use insect repellent if you are outside.
Dress appropriately: Wear loose fitting long-sleeved shirts, long
pants, shoes, socks and a hat when outdoors. Light coloured clothing is
Defend: Use insect repellent on exposed skin or on top of clothing.
Repellent containing DEET is most effective - up to 30% DEET for adults and
10% for children (not recommended for infants). Remember, the concentration
of DEET only affects the duration of its effectiveness, not the quality of
its effectiveness. Be sure to reapply when in contact with mosquitoes for
longer periods of time.
Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health services to the
largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The health authority is
committed to improving the health of the population and the quality of life
of more than 1.6 million people living in communities from Burnaby to White
Rock to Hope.
More information visit the BC Centre for Disease Control to learn about West
here or at the HealthLink BC website
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice