Kitchener-Waterloo

2 Waterloo region mosquito traps test positive for West Nile

Public health in Waterloo Region says recent positive results in two mosquito traps are a good reminder to clean up standing water around your home and protect yourself from mosquito bites.

A good reminder to clean up standing water, protect yourself

Two mosquito traps — one in Kitchener and one in Cambridge — have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services says. 

This is the first time this year mosquitoes collected from traps located throughout the region have tested positive for the virus. The traps were set Aug. 8 and 9 and public health found out about the results on Monday. 

Perth County has had two positive results, as has Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. There have been no human cases in Waterloo Region, public health said. There are eight reported confirmed or probable human cases in the province.

"I think that the important thing for people to focus on is not that there's a trap that's positive this week or next week, but to know that anytime when we have the conditions that we have during this summer period, we should be taking means to protect ourselves from West Nile Virus," Brenda Miller, the region's manager of health protection and investigation, told CBC News.

Blame the rain

In a post on its website, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said the abundance of rain this summer means the mosquito population "shows no sign of dying off."

"It's common to see an increase in the number of mosquitoes following significant rainfall. Stagnant water that pools on the ground becomes an ideal location for mosquitoes to lay their eggs," the health unit said.

Local public health units have offered tips to keep mosquitoes from breeding in standing water around your home, including:

  • Ensure rain barrels have tight-fitting screens with no holes.
  • Drain water from covers on boats, patio furniture and barbeques.
  • Regularly change the water in bird baths.
  • Clean roof gutters of leaves and twigs.
  • Contact your local public health unit to have your catch basin treated with larvicide.
  • Aerate ornamental ponds and fountains so that water is not still and does not stagnate.
  • Clean up brush and debris that could act as mosquito breeding areas.

Until mosquito season is over, you can also avoid bug bites by:

  • Wear light-coloured, tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, pants and a hat.
  • Minimize time spent outdoors during dusk and dawn.
  • Apply a repellent containing DEET or icaridin. Follow manufacturer's instructions and never use a concentration higher than needed for the time you plan to spend outdoors. Eucalyptus plant compounds and soybean oil are other alternatives.
  • Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that would allow mosquitoes to enter.

Note that the use of DEET or icaridin on a child under the age of six months is not recommended.

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