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

UPDATE: ‘Spontaneous combustion’ likely cause of fire at mushroom composting facility on Lougheed Highway

First responders were at the blaze near the Skawahlook First Nation Tuesday

Approval for AirBnB-style rentals in Kent delayed after public hearing

Staff will be taking the bylaw amendments back for a closer look before final adoption

Kent Harrison Emergency Support team honoured for work during 2017 wildfire season

The volunteer group was activated for 254 days in a row to help evacuees

Trial dates set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Lawyers for the accused appeared in Kelowna at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read