Protect yourself from West Nile virus

Larvae of Culex mosquitoes. Published under a Creative Commons licence. Source: Public Library of Science Journal.

A larger than normal mosquito population is being seen this year as a result of widescale flooding in the province.

Known habitats in the region have been treated with larvicide since the beginning of April. This includes the creeks from the Sun Peaks village to McGillivray Lake, said Cheryl Phippen of BWP Contracting.

The Culex mosquitoes, the known carriers of West Nile virus, usually appear in the late summer.

Phippen says,“Their population peaks around July and August when people have stopped doing their personal precautions because the nuisance bugs have died off.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and birds through the bite of an infected mosquito. To ward off mosquitoes, do the following: use mosquito repellent containing DEET or lemon eucalyptus oil on exposed skin; stay indoors at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active; wear long sleeved, light-coloured shirts and long pants if you have to stay outdoors; use netting to protect children and babies in strollers; and drain or change the water from items that collect stagnant water.

Report dead crows, ravens, magpies or jays to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control at 1-866-300-0520.

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