August 13, 2002

West Nile Virus: four additional birds identified

 

NEWMARKET - York Region Health Services advises that four additional birds are reported as positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in York Region. This brings the total of positive birds for WNV in York Region to six.

Two of the newly-reported dead crows were found in the City of Vaughan (both near the intersection of Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue West), one in the Town of Richmond Hill (close to Bayview Avenue and Major Mackenzie Drive) and one in the Town of Markham (near Leslie Street and John Street).

These four crows are added to the two birds already reported as positive in the Region, one from the Town of East Gwillimbury (off Yonge Street in Holland Landing) and the other from the Town of Markham (near Highway 404 and Steeles Avenue East). York Region also has one positive mosquito pool identified, to date (collected near the intersection of Leslie Street and Steeles Avenue).

During the 2001 season, 25 birds tested positive for WNV in York Region, including 20 birds in Markham, three in Vaughan, one in Whitchurch-Stouffville and one in Georgina.

West Nile Virus is a viral disease that can be spread to the human population from mosquitoes which contract the disease after biting an infected bird. The WNV can cause illness in humans, especially the elderly and immune compromised population.

York Region Health Services is taking all the necessary measures to ensure that the health of the public is protected. This includes an enhanced surveillance of the mosquito (larval and adult), bird and human populations; public education on how to reduce the risk of exposure to WNV, and preventive measures to reduce mosquito breeding.

Residents are reminded that, although the risk of coming into contact with the WNV is minimal, there are common-sense precautions that can be taken. These include minimizing possible exposure to mosquitoes and eliminating standing pools of water around the home that may become mosquito breeding grounds.

For ongoing, up-to-date West Nile Virus reports, precautions and information, residents are invited to refer to the West Nile Virus Update on the York Region website at www.region.york.on.ca or call 1-800-361-5653.

York Region Health Services reminds residents to continue to report sightings of dead crows to the Health Protection Division. These birds are known to be the most susceptible to the disease. Selected birds are sent to the Canadian Wildlife Health Centre in Guelph for testing. Additional testing is conducted at the Federal Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as required.

For more information or to report a dead crow, please call York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.

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Contact: Kim Clark, York Region Health Services

905-830-4444 Ext. 4101

kim.clark@region.york.on.ca


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 Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

 
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