August 02, 2002
NEWMARKET - York Region Health Services advises that the bird reported July 30, 2002 as "presumed positive" is now reported as "confirmed positive" for West Nile Virus (WNV). The dead crow was found in the Town of Markham, close to the intersection of Highway 404 and Steeles Avenue East.
West Nile Virus is a viral disease that can be spread to the human population by mosquitoes, which contract the disease after biting an infected bird. The WNV can cause illness in humans, especially the elderly and immune compromised population. Humans cannot get the virus from another person, animal or bird. Illnesses related to mosquito bites and WNV are, in fact, very rare. Health Canada states that in exposed areas, less than 1% of the mosquito population is likely to carry the virus.
In most people, exposure will result in no symptoms. Others may have mild flu-like symptoms or a rash. In more serious cases, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) can occur, causing severe muscle weakness, headache, stiff neck, vomiting, nausea and eventual deterioration of consciousness or mental state.
In response to this report and as part of the WNV surveillance program already in place, York Region continues to trap mosquitoes in the vicinity of where the dead bird was found.
York Region Health Services reminds residents to report sightings of dead crows to the Health Protection Division. Crows are known to be the most susceptible to the disease. To date, the York Region WNV surveillance program has sent over 40 birds to the Canadian Wildlife Health Centre in Guelph for testing.
Residents are also reminded that, although the risk of coming into contact with the WNV
is minimal, there are precautions that can be taken:
Around the Home
For more information or to report a dead crow, please call York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities. York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and
Whitchurch-Stouffville. For more information, visit our website at: www.region.york.on.ca.
For additional information about this media release contact:
York Region Health Services
905-830-4444 Ext. 4101
Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region