Protect yourself from West Nile Virus

Most people enjoy the warm weather and I am no exception. We are very fortunate in Halton to be able to enjoy outdoor activities such as hikes along the Bruce Trail, riding bikes along the Waterfront Trail, gardening, camping or a barbeque in the backyard. Unfortunately, along with these outdoor activities come the always present mosquito and the risk of West Nile Virus (WNV).

In May,  Halton Region Health Department staff began monitoring and where necessary, treating areas of standing water with a larvacide to prevent the mosquito larva from maturing into adults.

This is an important step in protecting Halton residents; however the most important steps we can take to prevent mosquito bites are simple and up to us.

1. Wear insect repellent with DEET.
2. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn.
3. Cover up: wear light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs.
4. Remove areas of standing water from your home. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water that does not flow.

Removing standing water is a key step in prevention. Residents can play an essential role by identifying and removing standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs. Make sure there are no areas on your property where water can gather and stay for 7 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 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 larvaciding is necessary.

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

Visit our West Nile Virus surveillance webpage to see the locations of larvaciding as well as other tracking data.

For more information on WNV or to report standing water, dial 311 or call Halton Region at 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833 or email accesshalton@halton.ca.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.