Fighting the Bite

Written by admin, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012 – Public Health Begins Local Testing forTwo Mosquito-Borne Diseases

The Peterborough Public Health encourages local residents to take precautions against insect bites this season as it begins testing local mosquitoes for West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE).
“While the risk to local public health is low, it’s important to monitor local mosquito populations for these diseases so we can advise residents if this risk changes,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Weather plays a big role each year in the spread of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis as it affects mosquito breeding conditions.”
In 2011, there were 278 positive WNV pools in Ontario, with three in the Peterborough area. There were 69 human cases of WNV in Ontario last year. There has never been a human case of EEE recorded in Ontario, however it has been found in horses in some areas of the province.

WNV is a potentially dangerous disease that anyone can get from the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes can transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of wild birds, the main carriers of the disease.

PHOTO / INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY:
What: Mosquito Pool Sampling with Public Health Staff
When: Friday, June 15 at 10:00 a.m.
Where: NW corner of Sherbrooke & Glenforest, storm water management pond

WNV is not contagious. It is only transmitted through blood and cannot be transmitted by human-to-human contact. Humans can only acquire West Nile Virus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
EEE is another mosquito virus that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease can cause severe inflammation of the brain in horses and humans. Although, some people only experience mild symptoms, EEE is fatal in about one-third of cases. It is currently occuring throughout North, Central, and South America; the Caribbean; and the coastal region of eastern Canada.

For the best protection against West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, Public Health recommends the following:
• Wear light coloured clothing (cover bare skin whenever possible)
• Use insect repellents: those containing DEET are most effective
• Stay indoors at peak times (dawn and dusk)
• Make sure there are no holes in window/door screens

As part of its Vector Borne Disease Prevention Program, Public Health has initiated mosquito surveillance by sampling storm water management ponds for larvae and trapping mosquitoes to test them for WNV and EEE. The Public Health also responds to complaints from local residents about standing water and enforces the City of Peterborough by-law which states, standing water may not be present for more than four days on any property to limit the possibility of mosquito breeding.

Eliminating any standing water is also an important approach to reducing mosquito breeding, especially in urban settings. This includes water found in common areas such as birdbaths, old tires, rain barrels, neglected swimming pools, gutters/eaves troughs, clogged drainage ditches, plant saucers, children’s toys, and boats/canoes. This will prevent mosquitoes that may carry WNV from breeding around your home.

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For further information, please contact:

Dylan Mahoney or Elizabeth Finlan
Vector Borne Disease Prevention Program
Peterborough Public Health
(705) 743-1000, ext. 340 or 339