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DON’T BE IN DENIAL ABOUT WEST NILE

- West Nile Virus Detected For First Time This Summer, As Mosquitoes Trapped in Lindsay Test Positive for Disease -

With West Nile virus detected for the first time in the area this summer, local residents are being urged to fight the bite of mosquitoes that can spread the disease.

Lab results received by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit on Monday (August 25) confirm a batch of mosquitoes collected in Lindsay late last week have tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the first trace of West Nile virus detected this year in the Health Unit’s region, which includes the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County and Haliburton County.

As of August 16, 2014, there have been 11 ‘pools’ (or batches) of mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus across Ontario this year. Across the province, one probable human case of West Nile virus has also been reported so far this year. That human case involves an individual living in the Simcoe-Muskoka region.

“West Nile virus is officially here, so it is important that everyone take precautions and fight the bite of mosquitoes that can spread the virus to people,” says Christopher Beveridge, Director of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit.

“There is never a good time or reason to be bitten by mosquito, and that’s especially true as we enter the peak season of West Nile Virus activity in late August and September.”

The Health Unit reminds people to reduce their risk of West Nile Virus by:

  • Covering up when outside by wearing light-coloured clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, jackets, long pants, hats and socks, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Applying federally-registered insect repellent on exposed skin (such as products containing DEET) is also recommended to limit exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Cleaning up and removing any standing water around homes, cottages or campsites. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs, and even small amounts will do such as that found in bird baths, old tires and unused containers like barrels. Adult mosquitoes also like to rest in dense shrubbery, so people should keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris. Compost piles should be turned on a regular basis as well, and local residents are advised to make sure homes and businesses are ‘bug tight’ by ensuring windows and door screens fit tightly and do not have holes.

While most people who get West Nile Virus do not experience any symptoms, a small number of individuals may develop flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, muscle weakness and stiff neck. In a few cases, people may develop more severe symptoms, including confusion, tremors and sudden sensitivity to light.

People who suspect they have West Nile Virus should seek immediate medical attention. For more information, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or click here.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Richard Ovcharovich, Manager, Environmental Health, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569 or 1-866-888-4577.

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