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News Release

Durham Region reports West Nile virus positive mosquitoes in Pickering

WHITBY, August 16, 2013 - Durham Region Health Department has received notification of additional adult mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

The mosquitoes were collected on Aug. 13 from one of the Health Department’s permanent mosquito trap sites located in Pickering.  Positive confirmation was received by the Health Department on August 15. As of Aug. 10, a total of 65 groups of mosquitoes have tested positive for WNV across the province. A small number of human cases of WNV have also been reported in other jurisdictions across Ontario.

“Although evening temperatures have been cooler, it’s important to remind area residents to continue to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said Laura Freeland, Manager, Environmental Health with Durham Region Health Department. “Mosquitoes are still active and positive WNV mosquito results continue to be confirmed locally and across the GTA.”

WNV is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of a bird that carries the virus. The disease is not passed from person to person or from bird to person. Most people who contract the virus will experience mild illness including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting and 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.

To minimize the risk of mosquito bites and the possibility of being infected with WNV, the Health Department recommends taking the following precautions:

  • Wear shoes, socks and light-coloured clothing, including long sleeve tops and full-length pants, when outside especially during evening, nighttime or dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin, following Health Canada’s safety tips on using personal insect repellents. More information on using insect repellents containing DEET can be found in Health Canada’s pamphlet "Safety Tips on Using Personal Insect Repellent"
  • Ensure that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
  • Prevent stagnant water from accumulating on your property.

The Durham Region Health Department will continue to conduct its annual WNV control program through to the end of September 2013. The control program includes active surveillance for both larval and adult mosquitoes in conjunction with a larviciding program that targets standing water in identified sites such as catch basins and storm water management ponds.

For more information on WNV, please call the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.


Media Inquiries:
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999