West Nile Virus Confirmed in Local Mosquitoes

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Peterborough Public Health (PPH) is advising the public that mosquitoes in the City of Peterborough have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The mosquitoes were trapped from July 17 to 19, 2017.

This is the first positive mosquito pool found in Peterborough this year. During the summer months and early fall, PPH sets five traps weekly; three traps are in fixed locations and two others rotate throughout the Peterborough City and County.

“Now that we’ve identified mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus in our area, it’s especially important that residents take care to prevent mosquito bites,” said Wanda Tonus, Public Health Inspector. “This is a good reminder for residents to eliminate any standing water in their yards and to take personal protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

Ms. Tonus noted that the majority of WNV cases do not show symptoms. About 20% of infected people will experience mild illness with such symptoms as fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes that last several days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or eye pain. Symptoms usually develop 2 to 14 days after receiving a bite from an infected mosquito. Less than 1% of infected people will develop neurological symptoms.

Although the risk of becoming infected is low, prevention against bites is the best protection. Individuals can protect themselves from bites in several ways. The first defense is to cover up when going outside between dusk and dawn. Wear light coloured clothing, and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and long pants tucked into your socks. Once a week, remove all standing water around your home, including birdbaths, wheelbarrows and eavestroughs, as this is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris as adult mosquitoes like to rest in dense shrubbery. Use insect repellent containing DEET but read the label carefully and apply as directed as this ingredient is a powerful chemical.

For additional information on protection measures against West Nile virus such as reducing mosquito breeding sites and the safe use of insect repellents, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca. KG

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