News Release: Launch of the 2019 West Nile Virus Surveillance Program
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 9 a.m. | Windsor-Essex County
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, in partnership with local municipalities launched their 2019 West Nile Virus (WNV) Surveillance Program on Thursday, May 23, 2019. This program includes controlling mosquito populations by larviciding catch basins, standing water sites, and lagoons in the City of Windsor and the County of Essex. Additionally, the Health Unit conducts adult mosquito surveillance and investigates human cases in the region.
“West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Each year, we have to prepare and assume that mosquitoes are carrying the West Nile virus,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. “By taking simple precautions, residents can reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.”
To protect yourself and your family from WNV, follow these tips:
- Avoid being outside during dusk and dawn. This is when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET or Icaridin. Always read and follow label directions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors. Light-coloured clothing is best as mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours.
- Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.
While part of the West Nile virus strategy involves larviciding in areas where the mosquito larvae are found, homeowners and business owners can also make a difference by removing standing water on their property. This also involves removing any items that could become a reservoir for standing water, such as old tires, upturned wheelbarrows, animal dishes, and unused flower pots. It is important to change water regularly, especially in pet dishes and bird baths. Ensure that your gutters are cleaned and that swimming pools and ponds are working as intended. Reducing pools of standing water reduces the places mosquitoes can breed. You can report standing water that has been observed for a few days to your local municipality.
For background information including statistics from 2014 to 2018, visit the Health Unit’s West Nile virus web page.
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)