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TELL MOSQUITOES TO BUZZ OFF

- West Nile Virus Detected in Lindsay -

Lab results received by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit this week confirm a batch of mosquitoes collected in Lindsay on July 23 have tested positive for West Nile virus.  

 As a result, the Health Unit is urging people to fight the bite of mosquitoes that can spread West Nile Virus.

“There is no good time or reason to be bitten by mosquito, and that’s especially true with this finding of West Nile virus and as we enter into the peak season for West Nile virus activity in August and September,” says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit.

The finding of West Nile virus in this area is not unusual. In both 2013 and 2014, West Nile virus was also detected in mosquitoes trapped by the Health Unit. Typically, the risk of West Nile virus remains in southern Ontario until the first heavy frost in the fall, Ovcharovich notes.

To reduce their risk of West Nile virus, area residents are encouraged to:

  • Cover 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.

  • Clean up and remove any standing water around their homes, cottages or campsites. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs, and even small amounts such as that found in bird baths, old tires and unused containers like barrels will do. 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.

“Fight the bite of mosquitoes that can spread West Nile virus, whether you are at home, visiting the cottage or going camping,” says Ovcharovich.

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 about West Nile virus, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit www.hkpr.on.ca.

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For media inquiries:                                                                                                                              

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

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