Twelfth batch of West Nile positive mosquitoes trapped in Ajax

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Published September 15, 2022 at 5:09 pm

Durham Region has trapped a twelfth batch of West Nile positive mosquitoes of the season.

The Regional Health Unit traps and tests mosquitoes for West Nile every week from June to September. Previously, the Region reported positive results from Ajax, Clarington and Oshawa on three occasions August 18, August 25, and September 9.

Between all three municipalities, 12 batches have been discovered prompting warnings from the Health Unit to residents. The Region says residents should cover up to avoid bites, and remove standing water from their properties to curb the mosquito population.

This advice stands even though nights are getting colder according to the Region.

West Nile virus is mosquito-borne and only spread via bites. A mosquito can bite a bird, pick up the virus and transfer it to people. It does not spread from person to person, nor can it jump from birds to people.

West Nile is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in North America, spread via bites from infected insects. According to CDC data, most infected with West Nile will feel no symptoms.

However, around one fifth of infected people will experience a fever and other symptoms such as; headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash. Most recovery quickly, but in some cases fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

In about 1 in every 150 infected people (.6 percent) symptoms can become serious and potentially deadly. Infections in these cases develop severe illness including encephalitis, swelling of the brain, or meningitis, swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

While the risk of infection, and therefore extreme reactions, remains low, the Region offered some advice to avoid it;

  • “wear shoes, socks, and light-coloured clothing, including long sleeve tops and full-length pants when outside, especially at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, following Health Canada’s safety tips on using personal insect repellents.
  • Remove standing water from your property where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Ensure that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.”
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