July 15, 2003

Mosquito pool in Whitchurch-Stouffville a false positive for West Nile virus

NEWMARKET - York Region Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hanif Kassam, advises that a mosquito pool that tested and was reported June 23rd as preliminary positive for West Nile virus (WNv) has now been confirmed as false positive by the Federal Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The mosquitoes were trapped in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, close to the intersection of Aurora Sideroad and Ninth Line. After preliminary testing, the mosquitoes were sent to Winnipeg for confirmatory results. Those results were confirmed today.

"We are obviously pleased with this news," said Dr. Hanif Kassam, Associate Medical Officer of Health for York Region. "Removing the mosquito pool from this year's West Nile virus statistics does not, however, alter our control strategy. We remain vigilant in our efforts to control West Nile virus through public education, the ongoing surveillance of birds, mosquitoes and humans, and mosquito control activities."

Trapping mosquitoes is part of the 2003 York Region WNv control plan. Traps are set up at various locations throughout the Region, with mosquitoes sent for testing. If a preliminary test is reported positive, a confirmatory test is then performed in Winnipeg.

There were 14 positive mosquito pools reported last year in York Region. To date in 2003, two crows have tested positive for WNv, one found in Newmarket and one in Aurora.

York Region continues with its West Nile virus community open houses this and next week throughout the Region to educate the public on its WNv control strategies and how they can take proper precautions and protective measures. For details on West Nile virus and other health-related queries, call York Region Health Services Health Connection toll-free at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.region.york.on.ca


Contact: Patrick Casey, Corporate Communications Services, York Region

- (905) 830-4444 or (416) 297-9696, ext. 1235

- Email: patrick.casey@region.york.on.ca

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