Halton Region working to reduce the risk of West Nile virus

While the rise in temperatures across southwestern Ontario marks the start of a long-awaited warm-weather season, it also means an increase in the number of mosquitoes, which in turn increases the risk of West Nile virus (WNV). To help combat this risk, the Halton Region Health Department will once again be monitoring and controlling WNV to help protect the health of Halton residents. Working together we can reduce the risk.

Beginning in May, the Health Department monitors areas of standing water and treats these areas with larvicide when necessary. Larviciding either prevents mosquito larvae from maturing into adult mosquitoes or kills the larvae directly.  Neither method is harmful to the environment, people or animals.

Residents can also play a key role by identifying and eliminating standing water where mosquitoes like to lay eggs. Make sure there are no areas on your property where water can gather and stay for seven days or more such as old tires, children’s toys, unused swimming pools, and low lying areas. For bird baths, just change the water once a week.

If you notice any large areas of standing water on public property that can’t be drained or removed, please report it to the Health Department and an assessment can be conducted to determine if larviciding is necessary.

Health Department staff also set mosquito monitoring traps in key areas throughout Halton Region to determine the level of WNV risk. The number and types of mosquitoes are examined and sent for WNV testing.

As always, you can protect yourself and your family wherever mosquitoes are active by covering exposed skin and using an insect repellent with DEET especially from dusk to dawn or in shady, wooded areas even during the day.

If you have any questions about WNV or the WNV program, dial 311 or call Halton Region at 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833, or visit www.halton.ca/wnv.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”