West Nile Virus reported in Monroe County

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Health officials have documented the first confirmed cases of West Nile virus to reach B.C. this year, though there has been no apparent human impact so far.

To report suspected cases of human WNV, call the DPH Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156. If you are outdoors at any time and notice mosquitoes around you, take steps to avoid being bitten by moving indoors, covering up and/or wearing repellant.

Unusual clusters of dead birds can be reported to the BC Interagency Wild Bird Mortality Investigation at 1-866-431-BIRD (2473).

West Nile usually spreads between birds and mosquitos, and some Canadians have caught the virus from mosquito bites.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the human case of West Nile becomes at least the 232nd reported across the country this year as of Tuesday.

Health officials say the best ways to prevent West Nile are: using insect repellents containing DEET, emptying standing water from containers around your home, wearing long sleeves and trousers from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active and repairing damaged screens on windows and doors.

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On Tuesday, Interior Health said the birds were tested after they were found in Kimberley, B.C., during routine checks.

The risk of becoming seriously ill is low for most people; however, those over 50 or with compromised immune systems are more susceptible.

Prevent mosquitos breeding near your home.

Use mosquito repellent on exposed skin. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.

Install screens on all windows.

Homeowners can also eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds on their property, which includes anything that can hold water, such as pools and even the saucers under flowerpots.