Dead birds test positive for West Nile Virus

Guelph Residents are being urged to take precautions

September 02, 2010 - Guelph, Ontario - Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health - With West Nile Virus detected for the first time in these areas this summer, local residents are being urged to take precautions against the disease.

A dead blue jay found in Guelph tested positive for the virus. The positive result means some mosquitoes in the area carry West Nile Virus.

"There has been an increase over last year in West Nile Virus activity reported in Southern Ontario," says Fatih Sekercioglu, WDG Public Health's West Nile Virus program coordinator. "Testing dead birds is just one way we monitor and control West Nile Virus in our community. We regularly trap and test mosquito pools and larvicide standing water and catch basins in high risk areas. But we depend on the community to be diligent in dumping and draining standing water to reduce the mosquito population."

West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on an infected bird. The disease can sicken people, horses, many types of birds and other animals. It is not spread from birds to other animals or people.

Recommended Actions:

To reduce the risk of West Nile Virus, local residents are encouraged to:

•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.

•Clean up standing water around their properties that mosquitoes need to lay their eggs. Cleaning up dense shrubbery where mosquitoes can rest is recommended as well.

•People are also advised to make sure homes are ‘bug tight’ by ensuring windows and door screens fit tight and do not have holes.