SUDBURY–Tests confirm that mosquitoes trapped in two New Sudbury areas were positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These traps were placed by the Sudbury and District Health Unit near the intersections of Montrose Avenue and Lasalle Boulevard and Falconbridge Road and the Kingsway. These are the first WNV positive mosquitoes detected by the Health Unit since 2006.
The Health Unit uses traps to identify the presence of mosquito species capable of transmitting WNV and to confirm if they are infected. “We have known for several years that West Nile virus can circulate in our area,” said Holly Browne, a manager in the Health Unit’s Environmental Health Division. “Now that we have positive mosquitoes, we will increase our surveillance work to track the activity of the virus.”
As of August 21 there were 49 confirmed and probable human West Nile virus cases in Ontario. The first and only reported case of human WNV in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts was in 2006. The virus has been found in birds, mosquitoes, horses, and humans.
August and September are the two months of the year when people are at greater risk of being bitten by a mosquito that may be carrying WNV. Ms. Browne encourages people to continue protecting themselves against mosquito bites.To protect yourself and your family:
• Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks when outside, especially from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active;
• Use a registered insect repellent and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; and
• Remove standing water from around your home where mosquitoes could lay their eggs.
West Nile virus is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that normally causes only mild illness in humans. Severe complications, including meningitis and encephalitis, are also possible, particularly in people over 50 years of age, and among those who have weakened immune systems.
For more information about West Nile virus, please contact your local office of the Sudbury and District Health Unit or visit www.sdhu.com.