The Saskatchewan Health Authority advised on Friday that West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed in mosquitoes from two traps in Saskatoon.
Weekly samples sent to the Ministry of Health for testing came back positive, indicating people in the city are now at a greater risk of infection.
WNV is a mosquito-borne virus that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The main species that carries WNV in Saskatchewan is Culex tarsalis.
Most infected people will experience no symptoms. However, there is a small chance of developing a more serious illness, known as WNV neuroinvasive disease, which can lead to inflammation of the brain and even death.
Typically, the Culex tarsalis are active from mid-July to the end of August.
Health officials are advising people in Saskatoon and surrounding areas to take the necessary protective measures to lower their chance of being bitten by mosquitoes for the rest of the summer.
To reduce your risk of WNV infection, people can do the following:
- wear an effective insect repellant;
- reduce the amount of time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn, and in the early evening when Culex tarsalis are most active;
- wear long sleeves and long pants;
- make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens; and
- Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
For more information on WNV, please visit the city’s website or the Saskatchewan government online.
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