West Nile Virus Risk In Saskatoon

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

As we head into the August long weekend, Saskatoon Health Region and the City of Saskatoon continue to advise people to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

While this summer has not yet seen any incidence of West Nile virus (WNV) in the province of Saskatchewan, that doesn’t mean the risk should be ignored. The presence of the Culex tarsalis mosquito – typically responsible for the transmission of the West Nile virus – has been detected in mosquito traps located throughout Saskatoon in the past week. These mosquitoes are less visible than the usual nuisance mosquito, usually coming out at dusk and typically biting on the ankle. Keep in mind the situation could change in the next week.

The risk of WNV transmission is moderate. The following personal protective measures are highly recommended:

* Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts.

* Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when the mosquitoes are most likely to bite.

* Use mosquito nets over play pens, strollers and carriages for infants.


* Keep mosquitoes from entering homes by using screened windows and doors. Keep screens in good repair.

To help decrease the number of mosquitoes and risk in your yard, practice the following:

* Keep grass cut short.

* Monitor your yard and eliminate all standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs, such as in tires, flower pots, paddling pools and bird baths.

* Unplug clogged eavestroughs, a typical environment in which the mosquitoes can breed.

Health Canada recommends the use of repellents containing concentrations of DEET not to exceed 30 per cent for adults or 10 per cent for children two to twelve years of age. No more than one application of 10 per cent DEET per day is recommended for infants aged six months to two years old. Do not use DEET on children under six months old.

Some non-DEET repellents have been shown to provide protection for a period of time similar to a product with a low concentration of DEET (4.75 per cent). Use of these products is recommended instead of DEET for people with: allergic skin reactions to products containing DEET; irritated, sunburned, bruised, or broken skin; or skin conditions such as skin cancer, dermatitis, acne, eczema or psoriasis. You can discuss the availability of these products with your pharmacist.