BRAMPTON, ON. (August 15, 2012) Ė Peel Public Health has identified its first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in 2012.
“The hot and humid weather we have experienced this summer has created ideal conditions for the development of Culex mosquitoes, which are the main carriers of the virus in Peel," says Paul Callanan, Director, Environmental Health, Region of Peel.
Peel’s West Nile virus surveillance program has detected an increased number of WNV-positive mosquitoes earlier in the season than in previous years. In response to the increased activity, Peel is expanding its scheduled three-round larviciding program to reduce mosquito breeding.
“In addition to weekly adult mosquito testing, we are adding a fourth round of environmentally-friendly larvicide application to roadside catch basins in Peel,” says Callanan.
August and September are the months of highest risk for human WNV. Residents are encouraged to reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by:
- avoiding areas with high mosquito populations and taking extra precautions at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active or stay indoors.
- wearing light-coloured clothing that covers exposed skin, such as long-sleeves, pants and a hat
- using personal insect repellants registered for use in Canada according to manufacturer’s directions
- draining stagnant water on their property on a regular basis Ė remove old tires; turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows; change water in birdbaths frequently and keep eaves troughs clear.
Residents can register online at peel-bugbite.ca to receive e-mail notifications of West Nile activity in Peel. Stagnant water can be reported online or by calling Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.
WNV is carried by mosquitoes that have bitten an infected bird. While most people infected with the virus will not exhibit any symptoms, approximately 20 per cent of people who become infected will experience mild flu-like symptoms (nausea, fever, headache, body aches) 3 to 14 days after being bitten. About 1 in 150 people who become infected will develop a more severe form of the disease. In 2011 there were three human cases of WNV in Peel region. Anyone concerned that they may have been infected should see their doctor.
As of August 14, 2012, there were 26 confirmed and probable human cases of West Nile virus in Ontario: 15 in Toronto, two in Halton, one in York Region, two in Hamilton, one in Simcoe-Muskoka, one in Lambton County and four in Windsor-Essex.
For more information on WNV and protection tips, visit peel-bugbite.ca or call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Caledon residents can call toll free at 905-584-2216.
The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon.