First West Nile virus positive bird found in Halton Region

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Published June 5, 2024 at 2:12 pm

mosquito west nile virus Burlington Oakville Milton Halton Hills

The first West Nile virus positive bird of 2024 has been found in Halton Hills.

West Nile virus circulates between birds and some species of mosquitoes. The virus can be transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite if the mosquito has first bitten an infected bird.

“Halton Region Public Health works diligently to reduce the risk of West Nile virus in our community through both education and preventative programs such as larviciding,” said Dr. Deepika Lobo, Medical Officer of Health.

“Until the fall frost, Halton residents should continue to protect themselves and their families against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites.”

Four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, while others may develop a febrile illness consisting of fever, headache, muscle aches and rash.

Some individuals may develop more severe illness involving the central nervous system. This may include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

Here are tips from Halton Region Public Health for residents to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

  • Cover up when going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn (when most mosquitoes feed), and at any time in shady, wooded areas. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly woven fabric.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
  • Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
  • Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

Anyone with concerns about a dead bird can contact the Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative at 1-866-673-4781.

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