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The Regional Municipality of Durham printPrinter Friendly Version

News Release

WNV-positive mosquitoes on the rise throughout Ontario

WHITBY, ON,  August 3, 2012 - Durham Region Health Department has received notification that five pools of adult mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) this week. The results were reported from permanent adult mosquito trap sites located in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa. The five latest counts bring the total number of WNV-positive pools to eight for the 2012 season. This represents an increase in viral activity within the mosquito population as compared to 2011 when eight positive pools were reported during the entire season. 

 “The Health Department’s findings are not surprising given the increased level of WNV activity that is evident in mosquitoes throughout communities across Ontario,” said Ken Gorman, Director, Environmental Health. “With reports of human WNV cases now being investigated in other areas in Ontario, it is extremely important for all Durham residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to ensure that there are no areas of standing water where mosquitoes can breed around their properties.”

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 between dusk and 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.

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.

Anyone who knows they have been bitten by a mosquito and who is experiencing any of the symptoms described should contact their physician.

For more information on WNV, please call the Health Department’s Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818, ext. 2188 or 1-888-777-9613, ext. 2188.

Media Inquiries:
Alicia Cowan - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2952