For Immediate Release
August 21, 2001
Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215
No Reports of West Nile Virus In Birds Collected In Peel
(Brampton) - To date, 49 dead birds in Peel have been collected and tested for the West Nile virus. None of these birds have tested positive. Two dead birds collected in Windsor and Oakville are presumed positive for the virus.
"The risk of human infection remains low," says Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. "While there are currently no reports of the West Nile virus in birds collected in Peel, it does appear that infected birds have reached the GTA."
Peel Health has been actively involved in a provincial surveillance program to detect the West Nile virus in birds since spring 2000. Other Health departments across Ontario have also been participating in similar programs.
Residents of Peel should take these precautions to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.
- Avoid areas with high mosquito populations, such as cedar hedges.
- Wear light-coloured clothing, including long sleeves, pants and a hat, to cover exposed skin. Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes.
- Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET. For adults, look for repellents containing 35 per cent DEET. Children should wear a repellent with no more than 6 to 10 per cent DEET.
- Drain any areas of standing or stagnant water on your property. Remove old tires, turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows, and frequently change the water in birdbaths. Also, keep your eavestroughs clear to avoid trapped water.
- Take extra precaution at dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is particularly high.
Further information on West Nile virus, tips to reduce mosquito breeding areas, advice on personal protection from mosquito bites and details on how to report dead birds can be found at www.peel-bugbite.ca or by calling Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700.