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Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Durham Region


COURTNEY McCLURE The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: According to a press release, sent out early this month, the Durham Region Health Department has detected multiple cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in groups of adult mosquitoes within Durham Region.

Between June and September, the health department sets up mosquito traps across the region. Once trapped, the mosquitoes are sent away for laboratory testing. The health department has tested about 15 groups of adult mosquitoes, with many groups having returned with positive results for the WNV.

According to the Durham Region Health Department, the WNV is a “mosquito-borne” disease. Mosquitoes become infected with WNV by feeding on the blood of infected birds. It cannot be passed from infected person-to-person or infected birds to humans but can be transferred to humans through bites from an infected mosquito.

Symptoms include body aches, rashes and headaches. These symptoms are usually mild. However, some people infected with the WNV may experience more serious symptoms, including confusion, tremors and numbness.

There isn’t a vaccine or one specific treatment for the WNV. However, if you do contract the WNV, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers. According to the health department, this will help reduce some symptoms of WNV.

Patients with severe cases of WNV may need to seek medical treatment at a local hospital. There, you may be put on intravenous (IV) fluids and administered pain medication at the hospital.

The chances of becoming infected are low. However, there are still precautions you can take to minimize the risk of mosquito bites and possible infection. For example, wearing socks, shoes and light-coloured clothes when outside may reduce the risk of mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn. You can also use insect repellentcontaining Picaridin or Deet.

Another recommendation is removing standing water from your property. The Region of Durham treats regional mosquito catch basins and bodies of stagnant water with larvicide. This may help reduce the breeding of mosquitoes.

Putting screens on your windows and doors or repairing any rips or wholes in them may help keep mosquitoes outside, minimizing bites as you stay indoors. For more tips, please visit canada.ca.

For more information about the WNV, please visit durham.ca/WestNile or call the Durham Health Connection Line, at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729.

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