April 29, 2004
Last season, the first dead crow that was tested and presumed positive for
Despite this early activity, there were a relatively low number of cases reported, with 2 human cases, 9 birds and 6 mosquito pools testing positive for the virus in York Region in 2003. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care attributed 2 deaths in the province last year to
Report dead crows and blue jays
York Region Health Services requests that residents report sightings of dead crows and blue jays. Suitable specimens may be collected and submitted to the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre in
Dead crows and blue jays are to be reported to
· Suitable specimens - A suitable specimen must be a crow or blue jay that has died less than 12 hours prior to collection. These birds may be collected by York Region Health Services and sent for testing.
· Unsuitable specimens – Most dead birds will not be suitable for testing, but knowing what species they are and where they died is important information. Do not handle birds with bare hands or dispose of dead birds through the municipal garbage systems. If you choose to handle a dead bird, wear rubber gloves, double bag the bird and contact Health Connection for pick-up.
· Dead bird pick-up service is available - Please contact Health Connection for pickup of dead birds of any species.
becoming seriously ill as a result of infection with
The chances of being bitten by an infected mosquito are rare. In fact, for the very few who are bitten by an infected mosquito most do not even know it, with approximately four out of five people infected by West Nile virus not showing any symptoms or signs of illness at all.
The symptoms for
See the attached Fact Sheet on York Region’s 2004
To report a dead crow or blue jay and for more information on West Nile virus or any health-related concern, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.region.york.on.ca.
The York Region West Nile virus (WNv) control plan for 2004 includes:
· Mosquito, bird and human surveillance
· WNv control activities, including a larviciding strategy in four phases:
- The first application will be in June and the subsequent applications will be in July, August and September. These applications will target all catch basins in
- In addition, any newly identified positive bird, mosquito and human cases in 2004 will be mapped and larvicide will be applied in the catch basins around those newly detected positives
- Methoprene is the larvicide that will be used. It comes in slow-release pellet-like formulations and is administered in catch basins when the mosquito is in the larval stage of development. It is not sprayed. It has been approved by both the provincial and federal governments and is considered safe for humans and the environment when it is applied according to label directions
· The WNv control plan also includes public education regarding common sense and effective measures to prevent exposure to WNv, including brochures, posters, transit advertising, public information sessions and community outreach activities.
Prevention and protection are the best ways to protect yourself and your family from WNv. There are simple and common sense precautions that should be taken:
· Minimize outdoor activities where and when mosquitoes are most active such as dusk, night and dawn
· Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, full-length trousers, socks, light coloured clothing and tuck pant legs into socks when possible.
· Consider using an insect repellent, as directed
· Make sure screens on your home are tight-fitting and in good repair
· Mosquitoes breed in still water. Eliminate stagnant water around your property which may gather in pool covers, flower pots, children’s pools, old tires and birdbaths
Media Contact: Wendy Lewis,
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, Ext. 1238
Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region