Ottawa – Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reminding residents to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites when going outdoors. Mosquito trapping and testing—components of OPH’s West Nile virus (WNV) program—have confirmed the presence of WNV in Ottawa mosquitoes again this year. These are the first positive test results for West Nile virus in Ottawa for 2016.
West Nile virus (WNV) is an infection spread by mosquitoes that, in a small number of cases, can cause serious illness. Most people will not develop any symptoms if infected with WNV, but some may experience flu-like symptoms. The risk for more serious illness from WNV increases with increasing age, with older adults and the elderly as well as people with weakened immune systems being at higher risk.
There have been no reported confirmed or probable human cases of WNV in Ottawa in 2016. In Ontario, as of July 30 there have been no reported human cases this year. In 2015, there were no confirmed or probable human cases in Ottawa, and 26 confirmed and probable human cases in Ontario. The hot weather we are experiencing this summer increases the risk of WNV in mosquitoes, and risk of WNV infection in humans.
OPH urges residents to do their part in protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites by:
- Reducing standing water sites around your home (bird baths, toys, flower pot saucers, swimming pool covers, etc.).
- Applying a Health Canada-approved mosquito repellent containing DEET or Icaridin to exposed skin and clothing.
- Protect yourself especially between dusk and dawn, periods when mosquitoes are most active, and at any time in shady, wooded areas.
- Wearing light-coloured and tightly woven clothing such as long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks to protect exposed skin.
- Making sure all windows and doors in your home have screens that are in good condition.
- Ensure all openings to rain barrels are covered with screen mesh at all times.
OPH has a proactive plan to deal with WNV that includes weekly testing and surveillance of natural and man-made standing water sites located on City property, such as ditches and storm water management ponds. As part of this plan, OPH uses larvicide in City-owned roadside storm sewers to reduce the mosquito population.
For additional information on West Nile Virus, visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca or call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth).