The Middlesex-London Health Unit is reminding local residents to take steps to prevent bug bites, after two mosquito traps located in northwest and northeast London tested positive for West Nile Virus. The traps are the first to be found with West Nile Virus-positive mosquitoes in 2023.
“With the considerable rainfall this summer, leading to escalated mosquito breeding and elevated populations in certain areas, it is important to exercise caution and ensure the safety of both yourself and your loved ones against mosquito bites.” says Andrew Powell, Manager, Safe Water, Rabies, and Vector Borne Disease with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “Wear an insect repellant that contains DEET, cover exposed skin with light-coloured clothing, and try to avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.”
Since the beginning of May, the Health Unit’s Vector-Borne Disease Team has conducted weekly mosquito monitoring at 23 Adult Mosquito trapping sites over a 17-week sampling study which will continue through September and conducted 451 treatments at 185 surface water locations on public property in London and Middlesex County. The Vector-Borne Disease Team is currently on the third round of catch basin treatment where approximately 35,000 catch basins are treated per round. The Health Unit will continue its surveillance and control efforts throughout the region and is reminding people in all areas of London and Middlesex County that West Nile Virus is still present in our community.
Other tips to help protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus include:
- Wearing light-coloured clothing with long-sleeves, pants and socks in areas where mosquitoes are present, especially at dusk and dawn when they are most active.
- When using an insect repellent with DEET follow directions for use, especially for children.
- Regularly emptying standing water from garbage cans, wheelbarrows, toys, flowerpots and saucers, pool covers, tires, and other items around your home and yard.
- Cleaning and changing water in bird baths every other day.
- Ensure proper closing and opening of swimming pools.
- Covering openings in rain barrels.
The majority of people (80%) who become infected with West Nile Virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild flu-like symptoms; fewer than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill.
To learn more about personal protection and the Health Unit’s surveillance and control efforts please visit: www.healthunit.com/west-nile-virus.
Morgan Lobzun, Communications Coordinator, Middlesex-London Health Unit
Andrew Powell, Manager, Safe Water, Rabies, and Vector Borne Disease, Middlesex-London Health Unit