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News Release

Mosquitoes in Pickering and Ajax test positive for WNV

WHITBY, ON August 29, 2011 - Durham Region Health Department has received notification of adult mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in the Pickering and Ajax communities. This is the first positive mosquito results for the Pickering area and the second for Ajax this season. Mosquitoes from both areas were collected on Aug. 22 from permanent mosquito traps placed throughout the Region by the Health Department. Positive confirmation was received on Aug. 28.

"Although the nights are now getting cooler and we're almost into the month of September, mosquitoes still remain quite active at this time of year," said Laura Freeland, Manager, Environmental Health with Durham Region Health Department. "Therefore, it's still important for area residents to remain cautious and take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites."

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" at www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/consum/insectrepellents-e.html.
  • Ensure that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

As directed by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, dead birds are no longer collected and submitted for WNV testing. However, the Health Department continues to use indicators such as adult and larval mosquito surveillance to determine the risk of West Nile virus for area residents. For more information on WNV, please call the Health Department's Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613, ext. 2188.


Media Inquiries:
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF DURHAM:
Glendene Collins – Health Department
905-668-7711 ext. 2999