The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Durham Region reports season’s first WNV positive mosquitoes

WHITBY, ON  August 12, 2011 - Durham Region Health Department has received notification of adult mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The mosquitoes were collected on Aug. 8 from one of the Health Department’s permanent mosquito traps located in Oshawa. Positive confirmation was received by the Health Department on Aug. 11. These are the first mosquitoes in Durham Region to test positive for WNV this season.

“Provincial surveillance indicates that West Nile virus activity has been detected in various Ontario communities, including Toronto, Hamilton, Peel Region and Halton Region” said Laura Freeland, Manager, Environmental Health with Durham Region Health Department. “With positive mosquito results confirmed locally, 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:

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