Dr. Shauna Hudson, the chief medical officer for the Sun Country Health Region (SCHR), is reminding people that the risk of infection from the West Nile virus (WNV) is increasing.
More WNV-positive mosquitoes were identified in the SCHR earlier this month. People need to take precautions to protect themselves against West Nile for the rest of the summer, she said.
“Everyone should be getting in to the habit of taking personal precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the places where they live, work and play,” she said.
People enjoying the outdoors in parks, recreational venues, campgrounds and sporting events need to take precautions and avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Farmers and other people who are working outside, especially in the evening, need to be prepared, and should use an insect repellent with DEET.
The Culex tarsalis mosquitoes have been in SCHR traps since the middle of June. The first WNV positive mosquito pool in the SCHR was reported the week of July 7, and the number of infected mosquito pools has continued to increase.
It's important for SCHR residents to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to WNV, she said.
“The most important thing is to avoid all mosquito bites, but particularly at the times that the mosquitoes carrying WNV are most active, which is at dusk,” Hudson said. “Remember to always carry and use an insect repellent with DEET.”
The Saskatchewan government's risk map indicates that Sun Country is at a moderate level.
Hudson recommends that members of the public continue to follow precautions: drain standing water to prevent mosquitoes from completing their life cycle; avoid going outside at dusk and dawn, when Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are most active; dress appropriately with light-coloured long sleeve shirts and long pants; and make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens without holes.