Last week, the province advised the City of Brandon to make sure its mosquito spraying equipment is ready, but city crews have yet to be given to go-ahead to spray.
Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus continue to buzz about the city, but the province hasn’t ordered the city to fog yet as officials say trap counts remain low.
City trucks and malathion spraying equipment stands at the ready, but the province’s chief public health officer hasn’t given the go-ahead to spray.
"Manitoba Health is not recommending adult mosquito control at this time in our area," Perry Roque, the city’s director of community services, said on Friday as he shared the latest trap count statistics for the city.
Last week, Manitoba Health advised Brandon to make sure its spraying equipment is ready.
And while the latest numbers available suggest that the trap counts for infected mosquitos are growing, there’s been no order to spray.
In Brandon, from July 22-28, six samples were found with West Nile positive mosquitoes. During the week prior, there were two.
During July 15-21, the average count per trap of Culex tarsalis mosquitoes in Brandon — infected or not — was 71. For July 22-28, that average was 69.5.
Culex tarsalis mosquitoes are the type most likely to transmit West Nile virus to humans in Manitoba.
Meanwhile, across southwestern and central Manitoba, 28 samples had mosquitoes that tested positive.
It’s the province’s chief public health officer who makes the call whether to order malathion spraying in a particular community to counter the threat of the West Nile virus.
There are several factors in that decision, but a major one is the degree to which West Nile virus is found in trapped Culex tarsalis mosquitoes.
Trap counts are being examined and totalled weekly at this point, so it will be late next week before the next decision whether to spray or not will be made.
The city gets a report on mosquito counts each Thursday.
There are no buffer zones allowed when it comes to a medical order to spray to counter the West Nile virus.
Roque said four city trucks are equipped and ready if and when the province gives the go-ahead to fog.
"We’re prepared and our equipment is set on our trucks and calibrated and set to go if the province asks us to spray," he said.
It takes about 24 hours for city sprayers to hit the streets after an order is given. The city has to first notify such agencies as the regional health authority, long-term care homes and the public in general.
The city can usually be covered in one night provided the weather conditions are favourable.
That said, the counts for infected mosquitoes are still low, Roque said.
So far this year, positive mosquito samples have been collected in Altona, Beausejour, Brandon, Carberry, Deloraine, East St. Paul, Morden, Oakbank, Portage la Prairie, Sandy Bay, Selkirk, Sioux Valley, Ste. Anne, Stonewall, West St. Paul, Winkler and Winnipeg.
Two people have tested positive for the virus in Manitoba, both in Winnipeg.
The latest West Nile statistics are available at the Manitoba government website at gov.mb.ca.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 4, 2012