For Immediate Release
May 24, 2001

Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Peel Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215

Peel Asks For Public's Help In Reporting Dead Birds

Brampton-The Region of Peel wants you to be on the watch for dead birds, particularly dead crows and blue jays. These species are especially vulnerable to West Nile virus infection and increased deaths among these birds will be indicators of the presence of the virus if and when it reaches Peel.

"There is currently no evidence that West Nile virus has reached Ontario," says Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. "We want people to call us if they find a dead crow or blue jay so we can identify the virus if it comes to Peel."

Residents spotting dead crows or blue jays should call Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700. Brampton residents can also call their local animal control unit at 905-458-5200 (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday). Mississauga residents can call their local animal control unit at 905-896-5858 (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday) or 905-615-3000 (4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday-Friday).

Dead bird surveillance is part of the Region of Peel's Put Mosquitoes Out of Touch campaign. Launched to alert Peel residents to the possible spread into the region this year of West Nile virus, the campaign emphasizes that mosquitoes are the vectors by which the virus passes from one bird to another and to humans. The virus, which in rare cases can cause encephalitis in humans, was first identified in North America in New York City in 1999. However, by last year, the virus had spread from just one borough in New York City to all but one county in New York State. The high mobility of West Nile virus is due to the bird-borne nature of the disease. This leads experts to believe that the virus will eventually establish a presence in Ontario.

The Put Mosquitoes Out of Touch campaign encourages people to wear long pants and long sleeves, and to use mosquito repellent during early morning, dusk and nighttime-the times of day when mosquitoes are most active. As well, the Region of Peel recommends that residents drain any standing water on their properties. This includes clearing eavestroughs, draining wading pools when not in use and frequently replacing the water in birdbaths.

For more information about mosquito control, personal protection from mosquito bites, West Nile virus and updates on dead bird surveillance visit the Region of Peel's West Nile virus Web site,, or contact Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700, or


Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9
Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail

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