Mosquito trap tests positive for West Nile virus

Residents are reminded to remove mosquito-friendly areas at home and cover up while outside after a mosquito trap in Markham tested positive for the West Nile virus.

York Region monitors West Nile virus activity by setting mosquito traps and conducting tests. The positive trap is located near the intersection of Warden Avenue and Hwy. 7.

“West Nile virus can be passed through the bite of an infected mosquito and may cause serious illness,” says Dr. Karim Kurji, York’s Medical Officer of Health. “Although the chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito is rare, residents are advised to take precautions when outside in the early morning and evening to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the chance of getting West Nile virus.”

Mosquitoes breed in standing water so clean up stagnant water found in places like birdbaths, flowerpots, swimming pool covers and clogged eavestroughs. You should also ensure window screens on your home are tight-fitting and in good repair.

Protect yourself while outdoors by using insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin and wearing protective clothing, including socks, long-sleeved shirts and jackets. Dress in lighter colours because mosquitoes are attracted to darker shades and minimize outdoor activities at dusk and dawn because that’s when mosquitoes are most active.

Symptoms range from mild to severe. While 70 to 80 per cent of those infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms, mild symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, mild rash and swollen lymph glands. First symptoms typically appear within two to 15 days after infection.

York Region Public Health uses larvicides in catch basins to control mosquito breeding along regional and municipal roads and other stagnant public water sources, including roadside ditches. It will treat private backyard catch basins upon request.

To learn more about West Nile virus, visit www.york.ca/westnile.

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