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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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HomeHealth and LifestylePersistent wet weather could increase risk of West Nile Virus locally

Persistent wet weather could increase risk of West Nile Virus locally

KAWARTHA LAKES-Not only is the cool, wet weather frustrating after a long winter it could also be a breeding ground for West Nile Virus according to the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge (HKPR)District Health Unit.

“They are predicting a cooler, wetter summer so obviously the more rainfall we have the more potential we have for standing pools of water and then we have more potential for more mosquitoes breeding.” HKPR, Environmental Health Manager, Bernie Mayer told Kawartha 411. “Any time we have a summer like this there could be a higher risk contracting West Nile Virus.”

In 2017 there were three human cases of West Nile Virus in the region and one in 2018.

Mayer says they will begin their mosquito trapping and testing program over the next few weeks to monitor the situation. “We do mosquito trapping throughout the region as well which will begin early to mid June. We just hired our students who look after the trapping for us. They started this week and are being trained. Once they are trained they will start mosquito trapping.”

West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms usually develop two to 14 days after receiving a bite from an infected mosquito. Approximately 80 per cent of people infected with West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms. Of the 20 per cent of people who do show symptoms, most experience mild illness with symptoms such as: fever, headache, body ache, fatigue, skin rash, and occasionally vomiting and nausea.

Less than one per cent of people infected with West Nile Virus experience severe illness involving the central nervous system.

The Health Unit offers the following tips for reducing your risk this summer:

Cover Up:

  • Cover up when outside – this is especially important between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active).
  • Use federally-registered personal insect repellents on exposed skin, such as products containing DEET.
  • When the weather permits, wear protective clothing outside such as long-sleeved shirts, jackets, long pants, hats and socks – choose light-coloured clothing because mosquitoes tend to be attracted to darker colours.

Clean Up:

Remove potential mosquito breeding areas around your property:

  • Get rid of standing water that mosquitoes need to lay their eggs. (Hint: Water collects in all sorts of places, including pool covers, flower pots, wheelbarrows, recycling boxes, garbage cans, old tires and wading pools).
  • Fill in low depressions in your lawn.
  • Cover rain barrels with a fine screen mesh. Change water in bird baths at least once a week.
  • Clean out dense bush and shrubbery where mosquitoes can rest.
  • Turn over your compost pile on a regular basis.
  • Organize a community cleanup to reduce mosquito breeding areas in your neighbourhood.






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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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