Mosquito pool tests positive for West Nile Virus in Brantford

Published on: August 13, 2020

BRANTFORD, ON – Mosquitoes collected by the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) earlier this week have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). The mosquitoes were collected from a residential neighbourhood in west Brantford as part of BCHU’s annual surveillance program and marks the first lab-confirmed evidence of WNV in Brantford and County of Brant this year.

Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to humans after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds that carry the virus. There have been no human cases of WNV reported to the BCHU so far this year.

“While these results are not surprising, it’s important that the public takes note of this and takes the necessary protective measures,” said Robert Hall, Manager, Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases.

Residents should take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes, especially when outdoors from early evening to morning, when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas:

  • Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
  • Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.

While most people do not become sick after being bitten by an infected mosquito, WNV can cause severe illness in others. Seniors and people with underlying illnesses are urged to be cautious, as they are more likely to develop the illness.

In 2018, Brant had five human cases of WNV. In 2019, there were no human cases reported locally.

The health unit will continue its surveillance for WNV throughout the city and county. To report standing water or for more information about WNV, please call the BCHU at 519-753-4937 ext. 444.