Mosquitoes in Sudbury test positive for West Nile virus
Mosquitoes founds in two Sudbury traps have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Sudbury and District Health Unit.
They are the first West Nile virus positive mosquitoes the health unit has found since 2006 but the organization warns more could be on the way in part as a result of climate change.
The hot, dry summer followed by the wet August created ideal breeding ponds for mosquitoes, according to Mark Rondina, an environmental support officer with the health unit.
"Personally, I didn’t think we had that many mosquitoes this year, "I think that was due to the fact that there wasn’t much water," Rondina said. "But then we are in August and in the last couple of weeks we’ve had some rain and the eggs have just been waiting there dormant, waiting for the optimal time and now "bang" here it is,"
Valerie Hongoh is a researcher with McGill University, and has researched the impact climate changing is having on mosquitoes throughout Canada.
Hongoh said it's not just rain that affects the population, but also earlier and hotter summers like the ones seen in Sudbury.
"So these hot dry conditions create these potential pools of stagnant water that are ideal for mosquitoes to breed in," Hongoh said. "The earlier they start reproducing, then the larger the populations you end up with at the end of the summer."
Rondina said the findings don't come as a surprise.
He said the health unit will be working to increase the number of traps in Sudbury and will conduct more tests on the two traps where the infected mosquitoes were found.
"We know that it's here, it's just a matter of time. You know it's just like everything else, it's like blue green algae. We know it's around, it's just a matter of does it have the optimum conditions for it to happen and in this case I guess it does."