Certain species of mosquitoes are the main carriers of West Nile virus.

West Nile virus threat fizzles out

Metro scraps coordinating role, cities still free to control nuisance mosquitoes

Despite years of predictions that mosquito-borne West Nile virus would arrive in the Lower Mainland, the potentially deadly illness is still a no-show here.

And Metro Vancouver has now decided to stop spending $76,000 a year coordinating a regional response to the threat.

Nobody has ever been infected by West Nile within the Lower Mainland and it’s only been detected here once – in a horse in Aldergrove in 2009.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control now considers Metro Vancouver to be at the very edge of the potential reach of the virus, which has infected people in the Interior and Washington State.

The virus had spread rapidly across North America in the early 2000s but activity in the Pacific Northwest has since slowed considerably.

Fraser Health said this year it no longer recommends preemptive use of larvicide to control mosquitoes in its region and provincial funding for West Nile response that used to be administered through a Metro function has been cut off.

The Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health authorities will instead work directly with local municipalities to direct West Nile mosquito control and prevention if and when the virus poses a more serious risk in this area.

Metro Vancouver will still control nuisance mosquitoes on its own lands, such as Metro regional parks, as will some cities, including Richmond.

Fraser Health has also scaled back its program to monitor mosquitoes, crows and ravens that serve as indicator species for West Nile.

There were 24 probable or confirmed West Nile cases in B.C. residents from 2007 to 2010, but nearly all of them are believed to have been contracted travelling elsewhere.

There have been no cases anywhere in B.C. in the last two years.

About 20 per cent of West Nile-infected people get a fever and other symptoms, recovering within a week or so. About one in 150 get severe illness, such as brain inflammation or polio-like paralysis that can be fatal.

Authorities had repeatedly urged residents to use insect repellent during mosquito season and to take other preventative measures, such as clearing stagnant water from properties.

Just Posted

Newton bingo hall to close after April 21

Gateway Casinos ‘working to transition its employees from the Newton facility to other Gateway properties in the region’

‘Significant waitlists’ for early French Immersion programs in Surrey

District struggling to find specialist teachers for French Immersion, Fine Arts and Montessori programs

Surrey MP apologizes for inviting criminal to Trudeau reception

Posing for photos with controversial people has been a bane for politicians

White Rock ‘demoviction’ complaint heard at RTB

Decision expected to be made next week

‘Anti-gym’ for baby boomers opens in Surrey today

Expanding Surrey-born company is brainchild of city’s 2017 Business Person of the Year, Sara Hodson

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read