Some types of mosquitoes can become carriers of West Nile virus from feeding on birds or animals that may have the virus. They can pass on the virus to humans through their bite.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) maintains its monitoring program for West Nile virus by getting samples of mosquitoes through special traps and checking to see if they have the virus. The EOHU also keeps in contact with local hospitals and clinics for reports of anyone who may have symptoms of the disease.
Not all mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus but residents should take care to avoid contact with mosquitoes. Anyone who works or plays outside should use mosquito repellant and also, if possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin available to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk so avoid being outside at those times if possible or else be sure to wear insect repellant.
People can also reduce the number of potential breeding sites for mosquitoes around the home. Remove all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. That includes emptying bird baths on a regular basis, not leaving old tires outside to collect rain water, emptying children’s wading pools when not in use, and covering outdoor swimming pools or hot tubs when they are not in use. Also keep pool and hot tub water chlorinated so it is not suitable for mosquito eggs.
Make sure all door and window screens are intact with no holes to allow mosquitoes entry into a home. Keep lawns mowed so the grass is short and cannot provide a potential breeding place after rain showers. Keep roof gutters and drains clear of debris to allow rain water to drain.
Keep compost bins covered to prevent mosquitoes from using them as breeding sites. Anyone with a drainage ditch close to their house should get an approved larvacide from a hardware or gardening store to put in the water. These larvacides contain a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but does not harm other insects, animals or plants.
Anyone who goes camping using a tent should make sure to have good mosquito-proof netting
For more information on mosquito protection and protection go to My Environment section of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit website at www.eohu.ca.