Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors has identified the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this year. The individual is a male in his 30s from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, who experienced neurological symptoms. He was most likely exposed to WNV in the Winnipeg area in midsummer. The investigation is ongoing.
The department is also reporting a male from the Prairie Mountain Health region in his 60s has tested positive for WNV. His exposure to WNV is believed to have taken place prior to the 2014 season.
The current risk for human exposure to WNV is low.
In Manitoba, the main carrier of the virus is the Culex tarsalis mosquito. The department’s surveillance program found this season’s first Culex tarsalis mosquito samples infected with WNV during the week of July 20th.
Manitobans can reduce the risk of mosquito bites and exposure to WNV by:
reducing the amount of time spent outdoors during peak mosquito hours between dusk and dawn;
using appropriate mosquito repellent;
wearing light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing; and
maintaining door and window screens so they fit tightly and are free of holes.
Manitobans can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by eliminating standing water. To prevent the development of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes, homeowners can:
clean eavestroughs and regularly empty bird baths and other items that might collect water,
ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout,
clear yards of old tires or other items that collect water, and
improve landscaping to prevent standing water around the home.
Information on additional human cases, including age, gender, health region of residence and likeliest area of exposure, will be posted at www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv/ as it becomes available.
Analysis of this year’s program continues and information regarding specific plans for 2015 WNV program will be available in the spring.
For more information about West Nile virus, contact Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1‑888‑315-9257 (toll-free), or visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv/.