Moose Jaw, Assiniboia mosquito pools test positive for West Nile
The Five Hills Health Region (FHHR) is reminding Moose Javians to take necessary precautions after discovering positive samples of West Nile Virus in mosquito traps in the Friendly City and Assiniboia.
© Esteban Armijo/Flickr
The culex tarsalis mosquito is "the best vector that there is" for carrying the West Nile Virus, according to Dr. Mark Vooght with the Five Hills Health Region.
"We received the latest results from the traps in the Five Hills Health Region and they indicate that there have been positive pools — positive mosquito pools for West Nile Virus," said Dr. Mark Vooght. "These were found the first week of this month."
Vooght said in the last week of July and the first two or three weeks of August are the likeliest periods for positive tests in the mosquito tools. He noted that the culex tarsalis mosquito — "the best vector that there is for transmitting the West Nile Virus" — had declined in percentage of total mosquitoes in the traps to about 10 per cent.
Some of the traps were set in the city proper, while others were just outside, Vooght said.
But he added that locating West Nile positive pools was like "finding a needle in a haystack."
"You might have a trap here that is negative, and just a few hundred metres away is a trap where the mosquitoes are found to be positive," Vooght said.
But he also noted that the type of mosquito which carries the virus has seen a decline in percentage of the total mosquito population.
"The population has decreased a bit ... (but) this percentage could swing up a little bit if the warm weather continues," he said. "The positives could be around for another few weeks, and possibly even for all of August. ... We might even have some stragglers for a couple of days after that, into September."
The positives could be around for another few weeks, and possibly even for all of August. Dr. Mark Vooght
There have been no human cases reported in the FHHR or province-wide, Vooght said, but there have been 35 in South Dakota and 16 in North Dakota.
Vooght said appropriate clothing, using repellent and switching out standing water basins such as bird baths will reduce the chance of both mosquitoes breeding and biting individuals.
He also said that staying indoors with screens closed in the evening hours will reduce the chance of being bitten by the particular breed of mosquito that carries the virus.
"In the evenings, from sunset to about midnight, is when the culex tarsalis mosquito is the most active. Just make sure your screen doors are closed," he added.
Ultimately, contracting the virus is at least somewhat related to chance — and the odds can be reduced by taking the proper steps to protect oneself.
"It's only when we stumble into a grassy area where there's intense West Nile activity going on that we can get bitten by a mosquito and contract the virus," Vooght said. "It's just really luck or bad luck."