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West Nile virus confirmed in Belleville

MOSQUITOMosquitoes collected July 30 were confirmed positive for West Nile Virus in the Belleville area. The Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit has confirmed three locations testing positive this summer.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on the blood of infected birds.  The virus can cause health problems in people of all ages and health status, however the extent and severity of the symptoms varies from person to person.  Most people who contract West Nile virus will show no symptoms or flu-like symptoms, while older people and those with weakened immune systems may experience more serious complications.  The Health Unit says there is no specific treatment for the infection, so protection is the best way to avoid problems.

“Since positive mosquitoes have been found in a populated area we are reminding people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites as we now have confirmation of West Nile virus activity in our area,” says Dave Dodgson, manager of  Environmental Health at the health unit.

Residents are reminded to:
·   Avoid 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 a mosquito repellent containing DEET. Adults can use repellents containing 30 per cent DEET but children should wear a repellent with no more than 6 to 10 per cent DEET. Follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully.
·   Drain any areas of stagnant water on your property. Remove old tires, turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows, and frequently change the water in birdbaths. Also, keep your eaves troughs clear to avoid trapped water.
·   Take extra precautions from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is higher.
·   Make sure your door and window screens have no holes and fit tightly.

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