Mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus in Clarington

Published September 1, 2023 at 8:57 pm

Adult mosquitos have tested positive for the West Nile Virus in Clarington – the 15th batch of the blood-seeking insects in Durham Region to test positive for the virus this season.

The positive batch of mosquitoes was collected from one of the Durham Health Department’s mosquito trap sites in Courtice. The department sets mosquito traps across the region and submits mosquitoes for laboratory testing every week between June and September.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread to humans via the bite of an infected bug. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of a bird that carries the virus.

The disease is not passed from person to person, nor from bird to person. Most people who contract the virus will experience mild illness including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and rash on the chest, stomach or back. More serious symptoms can include muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, tremors, numbness, and sudden sensitivity to light. Symptoms usually develop between two and 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Although the risk of becoming infected is low, the Health Department recommends that residents take the following precautions to minimize the risk of mosquito bites and the possibility of being infected with the virus:

  • 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 window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

Durham Region helps minimize mosquito populations by treating catch basins and other stagnant water sites with a larvicide to help reduce breeding.

For more information on West Nile Virus, call Durham Health Connection Line at (905) 668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729, or visit durham.ca/WestNile.

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