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Health Unit Reports Summer's First West Nile Virus-Positive Mosquito Traps

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 1, 2014

London, ON – Mosquitoes found in two local traps have tested positive for West Nile Virus; the first is in London’s Sifton Bog and the other in the south end of Strathroy. The findings are the first indication that West Nile Virus is present in the Middlesex-London this year and provides a great opportunity to remind residents how to protect themselves against mosquito bites this summer.

“We have been trapping and testing mosquitoes for a couple of months and these are the first that have been shown to have West Nile Virus. This finding highlights the need for people to take steps to avoid being bitten,” says Iqbal Kalsi, Manager of Environmental Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, who oversees the Vector-Borne Disease program. “Residents can do their part to reduce the places mosquitoes breed by draining standing water; and by taking steps to repel the bugs.”

To protect yourself and your family against West Nile Virus:

  • Wear light-coloured clothing with long-sleeves, as well as pants and socks, in areas where mosquitoes are present, especially at dusk and dawn when they are most active.
  • Use an insect repellent that contains DEET, and follow directions for use, especially for children.
  • Fix holes in screens, windows and doors.
  • Empty standing water regularly from garbage cans, wheelbarrows, toys, flowerpots and saucers, pool covers, tires, and other items found outside homes and properties.
  • Change water in bird baths every second day.
  • Keep pool pumps circulating.
  • Cover openings in rain barrels.

While the majority of people who become infected with West Nile Virus do not get sick (80%), those who do become ill usually experience mild flu-like symptoms. Fewer than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill.

The Health Unit’s Vector-Borne Disease Team has conducted weekly mosquito monitoring at some 250 standing water locations on public property since the beginning of May. Where mosquitoes capable of carrying West Nile Virus are identified, a larvicide is applied to control insect larvae. These larvicide applications are in addition to the treatment of some 35,000 roadside catch basins in London and Middlesex County which have already received two treatments this summer.

To report a dead crow or blue jay, call the Health Unit at 519-663-5317, ext. 2300 or visit: https://www.healthunit.com/vector-borne-diseases-west-nile-virus.

Media Contact:
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-663-5317 ext. 2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell.)

Spokesperson:
Iqbal Kalsi, Manager of Environmental Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit

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