West Nile Virus found in Brantford-Brant County

Published on: August 7, 2018

Branford, ON – The Brant County Health Unit is reminding residents to take steps to prevent mosquito bites. This summer the Health Unit has seen three positive human cases for West Nile virus (WNV), as well as one positive mosquito pool with 11 mosquitoes tested positive for WNV in the pool. The pool was located in West Brant.

“We are continuing to monitor and control local mosquito activity,” says Diana Duncan, Public Health Inspector at the Brant County Health Unit. “This includes mosquito trapping, as well as applying pesticide treatments to storm sewer catch basins to kill mosquito larvae and reduce the number of mosquitoes.”

West Nile virus is spread to people and animals through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds. The virus does not spread from person to person. Only 1 in 150 people infected with WNV will experience symptoms, and of those, only 20% will become seriously ill.

To prevent against mosquito bites and West Nile virus, people are encouraged, regardless of where they are, to:

  • Minimize unprotected time spent outdoors at all times, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies when outdoors.
  • Consider the use of mosquito repellents and use according to directions when it is necessary to be outdoors.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods, or when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Clothing should be light-colored and made of tightly woven materials that keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
  • The use of mesh “bug jackets” or “bug hats” is also recommended.
  • Learn about insect repellents, how to use them safely and how to choose the right one for your needs. Visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/about-pesticides/insect-repellents.html
  • Remove any type of standing or stagnant water, with emphasis to:
    • Clean up and empty containers of stagnant water such as old tires, flower pots, wheelbarrows, barrels or tin cans that are outdoors
    • Change water in bird baths at least once per week
    • Check swimming pools – remove water that collects on pool covers.  Make sure the pool’s pump is circulating
    • Turn over wading pools when not in use
    • Check and clear eaves troughs and drains – clear obstructions from eaves troughs and roof gutters throughout the summer
    • Make sure drainage ditches are not clogged
    • Check flat roofs frequently for standing water
    • Carry out regular yard and lawn maintenance: lawn cuttings, raked leaves or other decaying debris (such as apples or berries that fall from trees) should be collected and recycled or mulched so that organic matter does not end up in storm sewers as a food source for mosquito larvae
    • Turn over compost frequently
    • Fill in low depression areas in lawns
    • Trim dense shrubbery where mosquitoes like to rest