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News Release

Health Department reports additional mosquito pools testing positive for West Nile virus

WHITBY, ON August 17, 2017 - Durham Region Health Department has received notification that a pool of adult mosquitoes trapped in the Whitby area and two additional pools from the Pickering area have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These mosquitoes were trapped on Aug. 15 and test results were received on Aug. 17. This totals seven pools of mosquitoes from across the Region that have tested positive for the virus this season. 

“With yet another positive result, it’s clear that West Nile virus is now widespread across Durham Region,” said Ken Gorman, Director, Environmental Health with the Health Department. “Therefore, it’s important for area residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, and continue to monitor for and remove standing water from their properties to help reduce the potential of being exposed to the virus.”

WNV is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of birds that carry 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. However, 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 on exposed skin, following 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 the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613, or visit durham.ca/westnile.

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Media inquiries:

Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999, glendene.collins@durham.ca

If this information is required in an accessible format, please call 1-800-841-2729 ext. 3094.

For more information, please contact Health Department.