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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Kawartha Lakes Health Buzz Off Mosquitos!

Kawartha Lakes Families Fight Mosquitoes! Clear Standing Water!

Kawartha Mums - ruining mosquitoes love life can help decrease West Nile Virus. Since 2011 saw increased West Nile virus activity in Ontario, local health officials are encouraging people to get off to a good start this year by ruining a mosquito’s love life.

image HKLPR Health Unit Logo

'Cleaning up outside to eliminate potential breeding sites for mosquitoes can help reduce the risk of The upcoming Victoria Day long weekend, is a perfect time to get started cleaning up outside to eliminate potential breeding sites for mosquitoes which carry West Nile virus.

“Many people will be outside this long weekend working in the yard or garden, and we just ask them to consider cleaning up areas where mosquitoes can breed,” Atul Jain, Manager of Environmental Health with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says “Infected mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus to people, so by controlling the mosquito population, there is less of a risk of being bitten and getting sick.”

Jain urges people to remove standing water around their homes or cottages. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs, and even small amounts will do such as that found in bird baths, old tires and unused containers. Other clean up ideas to control the mosquito population include: keeping bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris, since adult mosquitoes like to rest in dense shrubbery; turning over compost piles on a regular basis; and checking that window and door screens fit tight and do not have holes through which mosquitoes can enter the home.
Local residents are also encouraged to cover up when outside to reduce their risk of West Nile virus. Applying federally-registered insect repellent on exposed skin such as products containing DEET can keep mosquitoes at bay. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, jackets, pants, hats and socks can also help, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

West Nile Virus Few Symptoms

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, says Jain, people may develop more serious symptoms, including confusion, tremours and sudden sensitivity to light. People who suspect they have West Nile virus should seek immediate medical attention.

'It is difficult predicting how serious West Nile virus will be in any given year,' Jain notes.

Kawartha Lakes West Nile Free Zone Despite Ontario Increases

In 2011, Ontario experienced a very busy year with 278 ‘pools’, or batches, of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus across the province – a five-fold increase over 2010. Testing also confirmed that 78 Ontarians contracted West Nile virus in 2011, a number that exceeded the combined total of human cases of West Nile for the previous five years.
However, in the Health Unit region that includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes, no West Nile virus activity was detected last year.

Dead Birds? Contact Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Service

In 2012, the Health Unit will continue to trap mosquitoes to check for the presence of West Nile virus. However, dead birds are no longer collected to be tested for West Nile virus. If local residents want to report unusual deaths in wild birds, they can contact the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Service directly at 1-866-673-4781. The Wildlife Service will determine if the specimen is suitable for testing for West Nile virus. For more information, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit www.hkpr.on.ca .

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