West Nile virus monitoring ramps up in southern Quebec

Two hundred monitoring sites are being set up across Quebec as part of the province’s plan of attack on West Nile virus.

West Island among areas in greater Montreal area under close surveillance

West Nile virus has made a recent comeback in Quebec after several years of being off the radar. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP file photo)

Two hundred monitoring sites are being set up across Quebec as part of the province’s plan of attack on West Nile virus.

Several of those sites are on the West Island, including Pointe-Claire, Kirkland and Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

The virus is communicated to humans by infected mosquitoes. 

According to the Quebec department of health and social services, 32 people in the province contracted West Nile virus last year; 24 of those infected developed neurological problems and one person died.

The virus can cause headaches, muscle ache, rash and fever. Complications can include brain inflammation (encephalitis) and other neurological issues.

The entomological monitoring sites set up in Quebec, particularly in and around the island of Montreal, will help public health authorities collect valuable data on the virus. Pointe-Claire Mayor Morris Trudeau said this data will allow them to act with maximum impact in the coming years.

Rates of West Nile infection in Quebec have remained relatively steady over the past three years. 

“Data collected in Pointe-Claire will make it possible to measure transmission and define both the period and the areas associated with the highest risk,” Trudeau said.

A map of the entomological monitoring sites in and around Montreal as part of the government's strategy on West Nile virus. (Quebec department of health and social services)

Avoiding mosquito bites

  • Cover your whole body with light-coloured clothing when outdoor, especially during periods when mosquitoes are most active, which are at night and more particularly at dusk and dawn.
  • Use a mosquito repellent when outside.
  • Install proper mosquito nets on the doors and windows of your house, as well as on your tent and camping shelter.
  • Actively seek to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your surroundings (eg. avoid standing water).

Source: Quebec department of health and social services