The West Nile virus has been found in British Columbia for the first time.

A mosquito pool sample collected from the south Okanagan tested positive for the virus, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. In addition, two Kelowna residents are being tested after they travelled within the central and south Okanagan areas.

Up until this weekend, all recorded cases of West Nile in this province involved people who became infected while travelling outside of B.C.

“This doesn't really come as a surprise,” said Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C. provincial health officer.

“Infection has been widely reported in humans and animals in several provinces across Canada and the United States in recent years, including provinces and states bordering B.C.”

Mosquito larvae like to live in warm, nutrient-rich standing water; even as little as a teaspoon is enough. Kendall said people should survey the outside of their homes, especially from spring to fall, and drain any standing water as a precaution.

He added that while Canada has seen hundreds of people infected with West Nile in past years, so far, there are no human cases in 2009.

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