Lambton Community Health Services Department officials are encouraging residents to take precautions against mosquito bites after identifying Lambton's first probable case of West Nile virus in 2012.
Preliminary test results indicate the presence of West Nile virus in a Petrolia area resident. The individual is being treated and monitored at hospital. Further testing is required before the case can be confirmed as West Nile virus
Community Health Services, which continues to monitor mosquitoes for West Nile virus, also reports a second confirmed positive mosquito pool. Mosquitoes collected August 1 from an Ella Street trap in Petrolia tested positive for the virus. It is the same location as the previous positive pool reported last week. The results of three dead birds submitted for testing are pending.
West Nile virus activity in Ontario has risen over the last several weeks. Currently, there is one confirmed human case located in southern Ontario, as well as probable cases throughout the province. A total of 89 positive mosquito pools have been found in Ontario this year, which is the highest for the same time period since 2002.
Dr. Chris Greensmith, Lambton’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, strongly urges residents to continue taking precautions to prevent exposure to mosquitoes and to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their properties.
To reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:
- Avoid areas with high mosquito populations
- Take extra precautions from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is high
- Wear protective, light-coloured clothing
- Use repellants containing DEET (follow label instructions carefully)
To reduce mosquito breeding areas:
- Drain areas of standing or stagnant water on your property
- Remove old tires, turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows
- Change water in bird baths (at least weekly)
- Keep eaves clear to avoid trapped water
West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of people infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, skin rash or muscle aches. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill.
Community Health Services will monitor for the virus throughout the mosquito season. Weekly mosquito samples are collected throughout Lambton; dead bird reporting and testing continues. The 2012 larviciding program will also continue.
To track West Nile activity in Lambton, the public should report the sighting of ALL dead birds to Community Health Services by calling 519 383-3824, toll free at 1-800-667-1839 ext. 3824, or online at www.lambtonhealth.on.ca.