Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

As a mosquito trap in Richmond Hill tests positive for West Nile virus, York Region reminds residents to take precautions that include minimizing outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

The region monitors West Nile virus activity by setting mosquito traps throughout the region and testing. To date, one mosquito trap at Leslie Street and Major Mackenzie Drive East has tested positive for the virus, which is passed to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause serious illness.

“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,” says Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region medical officer of health.

York Region offers these simple steps to protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus:

Get rid of mosquito-friendly areas at home
• Clean up stagnant water found in bird baths, flowerpots, swimming pool covers, clogged eavestroughs;
• Ensure the window screens on your home are tight-fitting and in good repair.

Cover up while outside
• Use insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin. Check the label directions for use,
• Wear protective clothing, including socks, long-sleeved shirts and jackets.
• Dress in lighter colours, as mosquitoes are attracted to darker colours.

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. Private backyard catch basins are treated upon request. Review the current status of West Nile virus in Ontario here. For more information on West Nile virus, contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-512-6228 or visit york.ca/westnile.

Image courtesy of York Region.

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