First West Nile virus positive mosquitoes of the year found in Oshawa


Published July 21, 2023 at 4:59 pm

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The first West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes of the year have been discovered in Oshawa.

The Durham Region Health Department catches live mosquitoes in traps set throughout the Region from June until September. The traps are checked every week. They recently caught a batch of positive mosquitoes in Oshawa but did not specify where in the city.

Mosquitoes spread West Nile virus by drawing blood from an infected bird, then biting a human. People can’t get the virus from bird directly and can not spread it among themselves. Most who contract the disease will suffer mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and rash on the chest, stomach or back. However, in rare cases more serious symptoms present such as muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, tremors, numbness and sudden sensitivity to light.

Generally, symptoms show up between two days and two weeks after the infected person is bitten. However, contraction itself is quite rare but residents should take precautions just in case. These include wearing shoes, socks and long-sleeved clothes while outdoors, using bug spray with DEET, removing standing water from their yards and ensuring screens are in good shape.

The Region conducts its own preventative measures by spraying standing water sites with a larvicide to curb breeding rates.

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