PERTH COUNTY - A dead crow found in Northeast Hope Township in Perth East has tested positive for West Nile.
To date, the Perth District Health Unit has submitted eight birds for testing. This is the first positive bird result in Perth County. In mid-July, mosquitoes from a trap in St. Marys tested positive for the virus.
"Residents must protect themselves from mosquito bites and clean up areas where they breed," says Dale Lyttle, Public Health Inspector. This is the time of year when people are at the highest risk of contracting West Nile virus.
Five people in Ontario have tested positive for West Nile virus this year. Their infections range from serious neurological symptoms like encephalitis to having no symptoms at all. There have been no human cases of West Nile virus in Perth this year.
West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes get the virus by feeding on infected birds. Dead birds are often the first sign of West Nile virus in a community.
The Health Unit is asking residents to remove any standing water sites around your home, farm and business to stop them from becoming breeding sites for mosquitoes. This can be done in the following ways:
- Remove empty containers or prevent water from collecting in them
- Remove water in bird baths weekly
- Clean up garbage on property
- Place an aerator or fountain in ornamental ponds
- As a last resort, treat difficult areas of standing water using a commercial larvicide, found in hardware stores.
To protect themselves from mosquito bites, residents should:
- Use insect repellent when outdoors; a repellent with DEET offers the most effective protection
- Cover up with light-colored clothes, long sleeves and pants when outdoors or when you find yourself in areas where mosquito activity is high
- Take extra protection measures at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
The Health Unit is continuing its surveillance activities, such as testing adult mosquitoes and dead crows and blue jays for the disease, and applying larvicide to catch basins in Stratford, St. Marys and Listowel.
For more information, or to report a dead crow or blue jay, call Health Line at 271-7600 ext. 267.