Mosquitoes and West Nile virus

Protect yourself from mosquitoes and West Nile virus

May 15, 2017

The recent barrage of wet weather could be a boon to the mosquito population this year. As a result, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is reminding the public to reduce the risk of mosquito bites and potential exposure to West Nile virus.

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Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water so the first line of defense is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas. Public Health is encouraging property owners to remove standing water anywhere it tends to collect. These locations include flower pots, bird baths, wheelbarrows, eaves troughs, rain barrels and tires.

The second line of defense is to reduce the risk of mosquito bites by wearing light-coloured pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Health Canada recommends adults and children over 6 months of age use a mosquito repellent with DEET or icaridin. Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes tend to feed.

“Some people when infected will experience flu-like symptoms and very rarely in a few cases there is inflammation of the brain and spinal column which may result in permanent disability or death,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. Adults over the age of 50 are most at risk of serious health effects.

To reduce the mosquito population in the region Public Health conducts an annual mosquito surveillance and larvicide program. If you have a catch basin on your property and would like to have it treated at no cost, call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753.