Protection and prevention encouraged as more positive mosquito pools likely
The Regional Municipality of York has received notification that an individual in the City of Markham is York Region’s first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this year.
“We are seeing increased West Nile virus activity in York Region and across Ontario,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Our best defence against West Nile virus is prevention and protection. Cover up and limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”
Since 2008, there have been two reported human cases of WNV in York Region, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms may include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache and a sudden sensitivity to light. In rare cases, the virus can cause serious neurological illness, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Those experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention.
The hot and humid summer temperatures have created perfect breeding environments for mosquitoes that spread WNV. So far this year, 20 mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus. Statistics on WNV activity and confirmed human cases are available at www.york.ca/westnile
Follow these simple tips to reduce your risk against WNV:
Get rid of mosquito-friendly areas at home:
• Clean up standing water where mosquitoes are likely to breed, including bird baths, flower pots, swimming pool covers, clogged gutters and eavestroughs
• Make sure screens on your home are tight-fitting and in good repair
Cover up while outside:
• Wear protective clothing, including socks, long-sleeved shirts and jackets
• Wear lighter colours if possible as mosquitoes are attracted to darker colours
• Use insect repellent ??" check label directions for use
As part of York Region’s 2012 WNV Control Plan, larvicide is applied to catch basins in order to control mosquito populations. Four larvicide applications take place over the summer months targeting all catch basins along Regional and municipal roads and in catch basins on private property, as required. Provincially authorized larvicides are low risk for humans, pets and the environment when applied correctly. York Region Community and Health Services will also continue case investigation and surveillance to assess possible risk to human health.
For more information on WNV or any or public health-related issue, contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Regional Municipality of York provides services to 1.1 million residents and 41,000 businesses that employ 516,000 people