DURHAM: Durham Region Health Department has received a notification of adult mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), from a mosquito trap site in Ajax.
Confirmation was received on August 27th. We have now confirmed positive mosquitoes from traps in Ajax, Pickering and Oshawa.
“With positive mosquitoes now confirmed in three Durham Region communities, we encourage area residents to take the necessary steps to help protect themselves from potential exposure to West Nile virus,” explained Lisa Fortuna, Director, Health Protection with the Health Department. “This includes ensuring that you minimize the opportunity for mosquitoes to breed and take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites.”
WNV is a mosquito-borne disease which spreads to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of a bird carrying the virus. They do not pass the disease from person to person or from bird to person, directly.
Most people who contract the virus will experience mild illness including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and a rash on the chest, stomach or back. More serious symptoms can include muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, tremors, numbness and sudden sensitivity to light. Symptoms usually develop between two and 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Although the risk of becoming infected is low, residents should still take the following precautions to minimize the risk of mosquito bites and the possibility of being infected with WNV:
• Wear shoes, socks, and light-coloured clothing; including long sleeve tops and full-length pants when outside, especially at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Use insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, follow Health Canada’s safety tips on using personal insect repellents.
• Remove standing water from your property where mosquitoes can breed.
• Ensure that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Durham Region Health Department sets mosquito traps across the Region and submits mosquitoes for laboratory testing every week between June and September. In addition, Regional catch basins and other stagnant water sites are treated with a larvicide to reduce mosquito breeding. For more information on WNV, please call Durham Health Connection Line, at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729, or visit durham.ca/westnile.