Ottawa mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

Ottawa Public Health has confirmed that West Nile virus is present in Ottawa mosquitoes this year.

Two pools in the health unit’s mosquito testing and trapping program tested positive for the virus. They are the first positive testing pools since the monitoring season started on June 1.

There have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus in Ontario this year.

Ottawa Public Health is reminding people that mosquitoes can pose a risk for West Nile Virus infection until the first hard frosts of the fall.

What is West Nile virus?

West Nile virus is an infection spread primarily by mosquitoes. Most people will not develop any symptoms if infected, but about 20 per cent may experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches and, possibly, a rash.

More serious illness occurs in less than one per cent of infections, with the virus invades the central nervous system. The risk increases with age, with older adults, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems being at higher risk.

Ottawa Public Health gives the following tips on protecting yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Use bug spray
  • Protect yourself between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and always in or near shady, bushy or wooded areas.
  • Wear light-coloured, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing, including long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks to protect exposed skin
  • Making sure all windows and doors in your home have well-fitting screens that are in good condition
  • Reducing standing water sites around your home, such as bird baths, toys, flowerpot saucers, swimming pool covers, old tires, wheelbarrows, buckets, and cans – anything that can hold water for seven days or longer
  • Keeping all openings to rain barrels covered with screen mesh at all times

Please read & RT: mosquito trapping and testing (components of our West Nile virus program) have confirmed this year’s first positive mosquito pools by lab result, indicating West Nile virus is present in Ottawa.

More info: https://t.co/b52qNKmbHA

— Ottawa Public Health (@OttawaHealth)
September 2, 2022

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