(OTTAWA, ON) – As summer draws to a close, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reminding residents to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites when going outdoors. On-going testing of mosquito pools has confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the Ottawa mosquito population again this year.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is an infection spread by mosquitoes that, in a small number of cases, can cause serious illness. Most people will not develop symptoms if infected with WNV, but some individuals –particularly the elderly or those with weakened immune systems– may experience flu-like symptoms.
There have been no reported confirmed or probable human cases of WNV in Ottawa in 2014. In Ontario, there have been two reported human cases this year. In 2013, there were four confirmed and probable human cases in Ottawa and 53 confirmed and probable human cases in Ontario.
OPH urges residents to do their part in protecting themselves and their families from mosquito bites by:
- Reducing standing water sites around your home (bird baths, toys, flower pot saucers, swimming pool covers, etc.)
- Applying an approved mosquito repellent to exposed skin and clothing
- Avoiding going out at dawn and at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
- Wearing light coloured and tightly woven clothing such as long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks to protect exposed skin
- Making sure all windows and doors in your home have screens that are in good condition
- Ensure rain barrels are covered at all times
OPH has a proactive plan to deal with WNV that includes weekly testing and surveillance of natural and man-made standing water sites located on City property, such as ditches and storm water management ponds. As part of this plan, OPH uses larvicide in City-owned roadside storm sewers to reduce the mosquito population.