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West Nile Virus reported in Durham

Durham Region Health Department has verified adult mosquitos that have tested positive for West Nile Virus. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Durham Region Health Department is reporting its first positive test for West Nile Virus.

The health department received notification of adult mosquitoes that tested positive from a mosquito trap site located in Ajax. Positive confirmation was received on July 22.

These are the first mosquitoes in Durham Region to test positive for West Nile Virus.

The health department says it’s important for area residents to take precautions against West Nile Virus by avoiding mosquito bites and removing standing water from their properties.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on the blood of a bird that carries the virus.

The disease is not passed from person to person or from bird to person. Most people who contract the virus will experience mild illness including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, and rash on the chest, stomach or back.

More serious symptoms can include muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, tremors, numbness and sudden sensitivity to light. Symptoms usually develop between two and 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Although the risk of becoming infected is low, the region says residents should still take precautions to minimize the risk of mosquito bites and the possibility of being infected with WNV.

Wear shoes, socks and light-coloured clothing, including long sleeve tops and full-length pants when outside, especially at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Use insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, following Health Canada’s safety tips on using personal insect repellents.

Remove standing water from your property where mosquitoes can breed, and ensure that window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

The health department sets mosquito traps across the region and submits mosquitoes for laboratory testing every week between June and September. In addition, regional catch basins and other stagnant water sites are treated with a larvicide to reduce mosquito breeding.

For more information on West Nile Virus, call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729, or visit