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Monday, September 12, 2011


Protect Yourself, Health Unit Urges – Ontario Cases Increase!

Mosquito hazardWest Nile virus is being detected in many parts of Ontario, local health officials once again remind people to take precautions against the disease. The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit notes there is no good time to be bitten by mosquitoes that can spread West Nile, especially now that the peak season for the virus has arrived in the province.

'While we have not detected West Nile virus in our own backyard, we know many other places in Ontario have seen increased virus activity in recent weeks,' says Atul Jain, Manager of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health  Unit. 'That’s why we cannot stress enough to local residents to continue taking appropriate precautions and avoid mosquitoes.'
To ‘fight the bite’ of  potential West Nile virus bearing mosquitoes, the Health Unit encourages people to:
  • Clean up and remove any standing water around their homes, cottages or campsites. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs, and even small amounts will do such as that found in bird baths, old tires and unused
    containers like barrels. Adult mosquitoes also like to rest in dense shrubbery, so people should keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris. Compost piles should be turned on a regular basis as well, and local residents
    are advised to make sure homes are ‘bug tight’ by ensuring windows and door screens fit tight and do not have
  • Cover up when outside by wearing light-coloured clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, jackets, long pants, hats and socks, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Applying federally-registered insect repellent on exposed skin (such as products containing DEET) is also recommended to limit exposure to mosquitoes.
As of Friday,September 2nd, no West Nile virus cases involving humans or mosquitoes had been detected in Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. 
However, the Health Unit’s word of caution is timely given that 2011 is shaping up as a busy year for West Nile virus activity in Ontario. Already in 2011, West Nile virus has been detected in 200 ‘pools’, or batches, of mosquitoes tested by other Ontario health units, including in neighbouring Peterborough City-County, Durham Region and Hastings-Prince Edward counties. During all of 2010, only 56 mosquito ‘pools’ were found to be positive for West Nile virus across Ontario.
To date this year, four human cases of West Nile virus have also been detected in Ontario. In recent days, a probable fifth human case of West Nile has also been reported in the Belleville area. 
For more information on West Nile virus, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit

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