If you’re concerned about West Nile Virus (WNV), you might want to take extra precautions while out and about in Brampton and surrounding cities.
The Region of Peel recently announced that one mosquito batch collected this week in Peel tested positive for WNV. The batch was collected in the Dixie Road and Lakeshore Road East area in Mississauga and is the first batch to test positive for the virus in Peel this year.
“These mosquitoes were collected from one of the 33 traps Peel Public Health maintains and monitors from June to September as part of our annual surveillance program,” says Paul Callanan, Director of Health Protection at the Region of Peel. “With this recent confirmation of West Nile activity, we are increasing our efforts in south Mississauga and the surrounding area by looking for breeding sites and re-treating catch basins with larvicide.” .
As for why this has happened, experts say the weather could be a factor. This year has been an unusually rainy one and wet weather creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
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The region says the chances of contracting WNV increase as temperatures rise, as mosquitoes are more active in hot weather.
Peel Public Health is encouraging everyone to make sure they protect themselves and their family before heading outside by using an insect repellent containing DEET. Residents are also asked to help reduce the mosquito population in Peel by removing prime breeding sites on their property.
“The most effective way of eliminating mosquitoes near your home is to remove items that collect water. Turn over old tires or wheelbarrows; empty out pails and plastic wading pools; change the water in your birdbaths often; and put away toys,” says Callanan. “If you happen to notice water that has been standing for a week on public property, report it online at peelregion.ca/westnile or by calling Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.”
As for what you can do, Peel Public Health says you can reduce potential exposure to West Nile virus by:
- Avoiding areas with high mosquito populations
- Wear light-coloured clothing, including long sleeves, pants and a hat, to cover exposed skin, even in your own backyard
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET and apply it according to the manufacturer’s directions
- Take extra precautions from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is higher. If possible, stay indoors
Peel has no confirmed human cases of WNV this season.
To date there have been no human WNV cases reported in Ontario.
For more information about WNV, visit peelregion.ca/westnile or call Region of Peel – Public Health at 905-799-7700 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Caledon residents can call toll free at 905-584-2216.