Northern Health, in cooperation with regional districts and various municipalities around the region, has completed 2007 efforts to track potential West Nile virus (WNv) activity in the North. As in past years, mosquito and corvid surveillance found no sign of the virus?s arrival.
In addition to obtaining samples from mosquito pools across the north, Northern Health also solicited the public?s help in reporting sightings of dead corvids (ravens, crows, magpies and jays) which can be an indicator of the arrival of WNv.
?We continue to believe the overall risk for West Nile virus in the north is low,? said Lucy Beck, Northern Health Regional Director, Public Health Protection. ?Still, it?s important that people are aware of the potential risk when traveling outside the province, and to know that personal protection is the best way to avoid infection.?
The following shows the total number of mosquitoes and dead corvids from the Northern Health region submitted for testing by the BC Centre for Disease Control during the 2007 monitoring season.
Northwest 2007 No of Mosquitoes submitted 118 # of corvids submitted 14
Northwest 2006 No of Mosquitoes submitted 165# of corvids submitted 25
Northern Interior 2007 No of Mosquitoes submitted 20 # of corvids submitted 27
Northern Interior 2006 8 mosquitoes and 20 corvids were submitted.
Northeast 2007 No of Mosquitoes submitted 6 # of corvids submitted 6
To date, there has been no WNv activity originating in British Columbia and the North. WNv surveillance is expected to continue in 2008. If there are any confirmed cases of West Nile Virus originating in the North, Northern Health will alert the public.
West Nile Virus is a disease that is passed from infected birds to people via mosquitoes. While the risk is low, West Nile virus can cause serious, and sometimes long-term, health effects.
About 1 in 5 people bitten by an infected mosquito will experience symptoms like:
? Muscle weakness
? Stiff neck
? Severe headache
? Sudden sensitivity to light
In some cases, these symptoms can last for months, and in a small number of cases, more serious complications or even death can occur.
The following agencies? websites also have valuable West Nile virus information
· Northern Health: ·www.northernhealth.ca
·Ministry of Health: ·www.health.gov.bc.ca/pho/wnv.html
·BC HealthGuide: ·www.bchealthguide.org (search word: West Nile virus)
BC Centre for Disease Control: ·www.bccdc.org/topic.php?item=110
For questions on West Nile Virus or any other illness, the public can also call the BC NurseLine at 1-866-215-4700, or TTY at 1-866-889-4700 for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Registered nurses are available to provide health information and advice at any time. Translation services are available in 130 languages.