BRANTFORD, ON – Mosquitoes collected earlier last week as part of the surveillance program by the Brant County Health Unit (BCHU) have tested positive for the West Nile virus (WNV). The mosquitoes were collected from a residential neighbourhood of St. George. This is the first lab confirmed evidence of WNV in Brant this year.
Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to humans after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds carrying the virus. Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:
- Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly woven fabric.
- Avoid being 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.
- 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.
- Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET.
“This is the first positive pool of West Nile virus this season. We expected this given the weather patterns this summer. Currently, there have been no reports of human cases,” said Filip Pajtondziev, Manager of Environmental Health and Infectious Diseases at BCHU.
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 2020, there was one confirmed human case of WNV in Brant.
BCHU will continue its surveillance for WNV throughout the City and County. To report standing water or for more information about WNV, please call BCHU at 519-753-4937, ext. 444.