Health Unit confirms West Nile virus in local mosquitoes

EASTERN ONTARIO — While no human cases have been reported in the region, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has confirmed that mosquitoes in its jurisdiction have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The EOHU “has been actively monitoring mosquitoes for West Nile virus,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “This finding shows that West Nile virus remains a concern in our area. Residents should be aware and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. For most people, the risk of illness from the virus is low. However, it can cause serious illness in others.
To protect yourself when outdoors, the EOHU recommends that you:

• Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods
or when mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn;
• Wear light-coloured clothing in tight-woven fabric;
• Use mesh bug jackets or hats;
• Consider the use of mosquito repellents used according to directions;
• Use mosquito netting or screened structures when sleeping outdoors.

To help control mosquito populations, residents are encouraged to:
• Clean up and empty outdoor containers of stagnant water such as old tires,
wheelbarrows, barrels, etc.;
• Change water in bird baths at least once per week;
• Check swimming pools and make sure the pool’s pump is circulating;
• Turn over wading pools when not in use;
• Check and clear eaves troughs and drains to clear obstructions;
• Make sure drainage ditches are clear;
• Check flat roofs frequently for standing water;
• Carry out regular yard and lawn maintenance: collect or mulch any leaves or lawn
cuttings, etc., that can serve as a food source for mosquito larvae;
• Turn over compost frequently and fill in low depression areas in lawns;
•Trim dense shrubbery where mosquitoes like to rest.

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