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Mosquitoes in York Region test positive for West Nile virus

York Region is urging residents to take precautions after mosquitoes in one trap in the region tested positive for West Nile virus.

In a news release on Monday, the region said the mosquitoes were collected in a trap in Markham near Bayview Avenue and John Street. York Region said it monitors for the virus by setting mosquito traps and testing.

“While enjoying the outdoors, residents are reminded to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the chance of getting West Nile virus,” Dr. Barry Pakes, York Region’s medical officer of health, said in the release.

“Mosquito activity varies from year to year. It is important to know not all mosquitoes carry West Nile virus and the risk to residents remains very low.”

York Region shared the following tips to protect against mosquito bites:

  • Clean up stagnant water in bird baths, flower pots, swimming pool covers and clogged eavestroughs.
  • Ensure the window screens on your home fit tightly and are in good repair.
  • Cover up while outside.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET or icaridin.
  • Wear light-coloured protective clothing, including pants and long-sleeved shirts.

York Region Public Health said it uses larvicides in catch basins to control mosquito breeding along regional and municipal roads and other stagnant public water sources, including roadside ditches.

It can also treat private backyard catch basins if requested, it said.

According to Public Health Ontario’s West Nile Virus Surveillance Tool, pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus in Peel and Durham Regions and in Toronto.

As of July 22, there have been no reported cases in people in Ontario, according to the provincial agency.

West Nile virus symptoms usually develop two to 15 days after being bitten by a mosquito with the virus, according to Health Canada. Symptoms include fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

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