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There may not be many mosquitoes in Manitoba, but the ones that are around are quite nasty.

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living reports its mosquito surveillance program has identified this season’s first Culex tarsalis mosquito samples infected with West Nile virus (WNV). At this time, no human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Manitoba.

The infected mosquitoes were collected during the week of July 1 from adult mosquito traps in Altona and Winnipeg. There are currently no orders for adult mosquito control in the province.

The potential for human exposure to infected Culex tarsalis mosquitoes is present throughout southern Manitoba. The risk of exposure to WNV is expected to continue in the coming weeks, particularly if conditions are warm and dry, which is ideal for Culex tarsalis development and activity.

Manitobans can reduce the risk of mosquito bites and exposure to West Nile virus 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, old tires and other items that collect water;
-ensure rain barrels are covered with mosquito screening or are tightly sealed around the downspout; and
-improve landscaping to prevent standing water around the home.

Information on the risk of West Nile virus will continue to be provided to the public throughout the summer. Manitobans can also check the WNV website regularly for up-to-date data and information.

Manitobans can also contact Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or at 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.