Marianne Wilkinson

Councillor, Kanata North

West Nile Virus is here: Protect yourself

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reminding residents to take necessary precautions when going outdoors as tests have confirmed that the West Nile Virus (WNV) is present in the mosquito population again this year.

West Nile Virus is an infection spread by mosquitoes that – in a small number of cases – can cause serious illness. Most people will show no symptoms if infected with WNV, but some individuals – particularly the elderly or those with weakened immune systems – may experience flu like symptoms.

Residents are urged 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 the hours between dawn and 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

Though there have been no positive human cases of the virus detected in the Ottawa area since 2006, OPH has a pro-active plan to prevent WNV which includes weekly tests and surveillance of natural and manmade standing water sites (i.e. ditches, storm water management ponds) located on City property. OPH also makes pro-active use of biological larvicide (Bti) when appropriate as well as a chemical larvicide called methoprene which is used to treat all City-owned roadside storm sewers.

For additional information on West Nile Virus, visit ottawa.ca/health or call Ottawa Public Health Information at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth).

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