NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York Community and Health Services Department reports that the West Nile virus control program has ended for the season with low virus activity noted in 2007.
During the 2007 season, residents were asked to report dead crows and blue jays to help determine possible West Nile virus activity in York Region. Specimens were collected and submitted to the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre in Guelph for testing for the virus.
Our thanks to York Region residents who reported dead birds through the Health Connection information line. As of October 31, 2007:
• 965 dead birds were collected
• 24 birds of concern were submitted for testing
• One bird tested positive for West Nile virus
• No mosquito pools (or batches) tested positive for the virus
If you find a dead bird, do not handle it with bare hands or dispose of it through the municipal garbage system. If you choose to handle a dead bird, wear rubber gloves, double bag the carcass and bury under two feet of soil using a spade or shovel.
All West Nile virus surveillance activities, including the trapping and testing of mosquitoes, have also concluded.
Like in humans, West Nile virus is transmitted to the bird population by infected mosquitoe bites. Crows, blue jays and other species are known to be most susceptible to the disease and enabled the West Nile virus team to track the travel of the virus through the Region.
This year's surveillance program demonstrated relatively low West Nile virus activity, with one bird and no mosquito pools (or batches) testing positive for the virus in York Region. No human cases of West Nile virus were reported. In 2006, there were three human cases, 10 positive birds and 10 positive mosquito pools that tested for the virus in York Region.
For more information on this or any other health-related questions, contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell 905 716-2717