Mosquitoes and Mosquito Borne Diseases
The risk of contracting a mosquito-borne virus in the NWT is very low. Most mosquito species found in the NWT do not carry diseases that could pass to humans.
To date, none of the mosquitoes collected and tested by the ENR monitoring program has detected any Malaria, West Nile Virus, or Zika Virus disease.
Mosquitoes in the NWT can, on rare occasion, carry California Serogroup viruses, which include the Snowshoe Hare and Jamestown Canyon viruses.
While most cases of these viruses are asymptomatic or mild, there is the potential for the development of encephalitic diseases, which can manifest as a stiff neck, headache, lethargy, focal signs, nausea, or vomiting.
Some people can also have an allergic reaction to bites and will scratch them, sometimes resulting in a skin infection. It is best to ask your doctor if you feel unwell, with symptoms such as fever, inflammation, or swelling.
If you are traveling abroad, check with a health care provider for preventative vaccinations or medications for any mosquito-borne diseases in that area. Even if traveling to southern Canada, you should review local public health advice for preventing mosquito exposures and bites- as West Nile virus may be transmitted through mosquito bites in these areas.
For more information:
- Preventing mosquito and tick bites: A Canadian update (Canadian Paediatric Society)
- Pathogen Safety Data Sheets: Infectious Substances – California Serogroup viruses (Government of Canada)
- West Nile virus (Government of Canada)
- Zika virus: Symptoms and treatment (Government of Canada)
- Travel Health (Government of Canada)