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News Release

Two new batches of mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

WHITBY, ON  July 26, 2012 - Durham Region Health Department has received notification that two new batches of adult mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The mosquitoes were collected on July 24 from two of the Health Department’s permanent mosquito traps – one located in Ajax, the other in Oshawa. Positive confirmation was received by the Health Department on July 26. These new results represent the second and third positive reports for Durham Region this season. The first batch of positive mosquitoes in Durham Region was reported on June 29 and collected from the Oshawa area.

 “Provincial surveillance indicates that West Nile virus activity has been detected in a number of communities across Ontario,” said Ken Gorman, Director, Environmental Health with Durham Region Health Department. “With positive mosquito results now confirmed in a second Durham municipality, it’s important for area residents to take 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”
  • 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, ext. 2188 or 1-888-777-9613, ext. 2188.

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