Residents Being Reminded to Protect Themselves Against West Nile Virus | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Residents Being Reminded to Protect Themselves Against West Nile Virus

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties – September 12, 2017 – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have once again been found in the Belleville area. This direct evidence of West Nile Virus (WNv) this year was identified as part of regular surveillance by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH).

As part of the surveillance program there were traps set at 17 locations, including Bancroft, Belleville, Bloomfield, Stirling and Quinte West. The first WNv positive pool was found in Belleville in late July. To date there have been a total of 13 positive pools identified, which include traps that presented positive multiple times.

About West Nile Virus

WNv is an infection found in birds, and carried by mosquitoes which feed on infected birds. WNv is spread to humans and animals through bites by infected mosquitoes.

Early symptoms of WNv can include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache, sudden sensitivity to light, tremors, numbness, or vision loss. The majority of infected individuals have mild symptoms or none at all. In severe cases, WNv can cause inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. If individuals believe they are experiencing early symptoms of WNv, they are encouraged to contact their primary care provider.

"Mosquitoes that may be carrying WNv typically will appear in July, peak in numbers by mid-August, and decline significantly by the end of August", says Andrew Landy, Senior Public Health Inspector. "It is during these times that we recommend that residents be most diligent about protecting themselves and their family. The recent finding of local mosquitoes carrying WNv serves as a reminder to take precautions to prevent bites and reduce breeding sites."

Protect Yourself and Your Family

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. If residents need to be outside during this time, they are encouraged to wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and a hat, and use an insect repellant containing DEET or Icaridin. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, removing any sources of standing water such as small pools and birdbaths will help reduce the mosquito population. Ensuring that windows and doors are screened will help keep mosquitos outside.

If residents encounter a dead bird or other dead animal, they are advised not to handle it with bare hands, as it could be carrying WNv. Public Health recommends that dead birds or animals be buried using a shovel and gloves, at a depth of at least 50cm in an area that will not be disturbed. Public Health should be notified if clusters of dead birds or animals are found.

For more information call 613-966-5500 extension 677.

Media Contact:

Aptie Sookoo, Public Health Inspector
613-966-5500 ext. 276
asookoo@hpeph.ca