Spring Showers Lead to More Mosquitoes

Written by Communications, May 21, 2019

Risk of West Nile Virus May Be Higher

A damp spring has Peterborough Public Health advising residents to take extra precaution avoiding mosquito bites this season to prevent the risk of a West Nile virus infection.

“We could see more mosquitoes this year so it’s even more important to protect yourself by cleaning up and covering up,” said Wanda Tonus, Public Health Inspector.  “Meanwhile we continue to look for evidence of West Nile virus throughout our area and monitor its spread in Ontario.”

Peterborough Public Health staff trap mosquitoes and test larvae from standing water pools throughout the City and County of Peterborough. In 2018 staff collected more than 5,000 local mosquitoes and none tested positive for West Nile virus.  In 2018, Public Health Ontario reports that across the province there were 305 positive mosquito pools and 137 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus. Human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the local area over the past two years.

How do you protect yourself?

 Clean up:

  • Continually empty standing water that mosquitoes need to lay their eggs per the City of Peterborough By-Law, 03-107. This includes flower pots, wheel barrows, pool covers, old tires and garbage/recycling cans.
  • Fill in low depressions in your lawn.
  • Change water in bird baths at least once a week.
  • Clean out dense bushes and shrubs where mosquitoes can rest.
  • Turn over compost pile on a regular basis.
  • Ensure window and door screens fit tightly and do not have holes.

 Cover up:

  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn because mosquitoes are most active during these times.
  • Use a bug repellent containing DEET, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Cover up with light coloured, long clothing. This includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. Also, wear footwear that covers exposed skin.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?

Approximately 80% of those infected with West Nile virus do not show any symptoms. Of the 20% that do, most experience mild illness with symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rash
  • Occasionally, vomiting and nausea

Less than 1% of those infected with West Nile virus experience severe illness involving the central nervous system.  In its most serious state, West Nile virus infection can cause an inflammation in the brain, otherwise known as encephalitis.

For more information on mosquitoes and West Nile virus please contact the Vector Borne Disease Program at Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 240.


For further information, please contact:

Wanda Tonus

Public Health Inspector

705-743-1000, ext. 285