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Mosquitoes in Picton found to be carrying West Nile virus

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has found a pool of mosquitoes in the Picton area carrying West Nile virus.

HPEPH reports this is the first direct evidence of West Nile activity in the area this summer.

West Nile virus is a viral infection found in birds and carried by mosquitoes which feed on infected birds. West Nile virus is spread to humans and animals through bites by infected mosquitoes.

The majority of infected individuals have mild or no symptoms.

Early symptoms can include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache, sudden sensitivity to light, tremors, numbness, or vision loss. The elderly and those with certain chronic medical problems, including problems with their immune systems, are more susceptible. In severe cases, West Nile virus can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. No specific treatment or vaccination is available for West Nile virus. For severe illness, supportive therapy is provided. Individuals cannot get West Nile virus from person-to-person contact.

Protecting yourself and your family
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn (first light) and dusk (just before dark). If you need to be outside during this time, the simplest precaution is to wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, socks and a hat, and use an insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water (water that does not move/flow). It is advisable to get rid of any standing water around your home (for example in flower pots, rainwater barrels, children’s toys, wading pools). Ensure you have screens on windows to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

If you encounter a dead bird or other dead animal, do not handle it with bare hands.

Local surveillance program

HPEPH conducts an adult mosquito surveillance program using carbon dioxide baited light traps at 17 different locations throughout Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. The trapped mosquitoes are shipped to a laboratory where they are tested for West Nile virus.

 

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