Keep a bottle of insect repellent handy this summer. The Region of Peel announced Tuesday that the season’s first West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes have been found, and are advising residents to take precautions this summer.
The mosquito-borne disease was found in a sample of insects taken from the Steeles Avenue West and McLaughlin Road South area in Brampton. The region currently monitors West Nile virus activity through 33 mosquito traps set across all three municipalities, said associate medical officer of health Lawrence Loh.
“Mosquitoes from the traps are collected and tested weekly from June to September. Public Health staff also survey public areas for stagnant water that may be serving as mosquito breeding sites and treat identified sites with larvicide,” said Loh. West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is passed to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito.
To date, no confirmed human cases of West Nile virus have been found in Peel Region, and as of July 20, there have been no reported human cases in Ontario so far this season. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay Although the risk of acquiring West Nile virus infection is low, the region is advising residents there are simple things that they can do to protect against mosquito bites:
• Apply an approved insect repellent containing an ingredient effective against mosquitoes, such as DEET/icaridin, to exposed skin and clothing.
• Avoid areas with high mosquito populations, such as shaded or wooded areas, and take extra precautions between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Wear light-colored, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing such as long pants, a longsleeved shirt, shoes and socks to protect exposed skin.
• Make sure all window and door screens fit securely and are free of tears and holes. Local residents can also help prevent mosquito bites by removing or draining items on their property that hold stagnant water. Water that is stagnant for more than seven days is an ideal breeding site for mosquitoes.
Stagnant water sites can be reported to Peel Public Health at 905-799- 7700 (toll free at 905- 584-2216 in Caledon), or online at peelregion.ca/health/vbd.