Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus. The latest B.C. victims of the disease are two horses near Cache Creek.

Infected horses serve as West Nile reminder

Two Cache Creek horses first sign of virus in B.C. this year

Positive tests for West Nile virus in two horses near Cache Creek serve as a fresh reminder that humans could also be infected by the mosquito-borne disease, health officials say.

“It’s not too surprising,” said deputy provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. “But it would be the first indication we have this year of any West Nile virus activity.”

She noted the two horses haven’t yet been confirmed as West Nile cases by the province. They were reported Monday by the Society of B.C. Veterinarians, which cautioned owners of horses against scrimping on their vaccinations.

There have been three bitten-in-B.C. West Nile infections among people over the years, in addition to the more than 40 other cases contracted out of province.

All the local infections happened in 2009 in the Southern Interior, Henry said, with most of the positive tests of mosquitoes and birds occurring in the South Okanagan.

Henry said horses act as “end hosts” like humans – they don’t act as a virus reservoir like corvid birds.

“This is another indicator that West Nile virus can be out there,” she said. “This would be the highest risk time of year.”

Most people bitten by an infected mosquito have no symptoms but in about 20 per cent of cases, those infected develop a fever, headaches and rash. About one in 150 will experience severe complications such as meningitis and about one in 1,000 will die.

The best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites: wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants, especially in the early morning and evening; use repellants with DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil; and eliminate standing water in your yard.

Just Posted

LETTER: Thanks to truly angelic Snow Angels

Harrison residents Marg and Ted Doman thank the anonymous snow shovellers who cleaned their driveway

With sport, it’s best to start them young

When facing off on the court as teenagers, some players recall starting their career in elementary

Agassiz churches to come together for night of worship

The joint worship night is an attempt to revive an old event in the community

New Chilliwack YMCA was ‘worth the wait’ say visitors

Family Day will mark officially opening for new building, after sneak peek tours on Saturday

More people in Chiliwack coming in to shelters to get out of the cold

Ruth and Naomi’s went over-capacity this week to accommodate shelter guests coming in from the cold

VIDEO: Wheelchairs teach Agassiz students acceptance through sport

Teacher Donna Gallamore brought wheelchairs to the Kent Elementary for learning and fun

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Pedestrian in serious condition after hit by car downtown Abbotsford

A youth was also hit, suffered minor injuries, police say

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

Most Read