West Nile virus confirmed in Sarnia, Petrolia

Lambton Public Health regularly tests for the virus

Lambton Public Health has confirmed the presence of West Nile virus in the area.

On Monday, July 31, Lambton Public Health confirmed mosquitoes found in a Petrolia trap on July 25 tested positive for West Nile virus.

On Friday, August 4, it confirmed a dead crow found in Sarnia’s north end in mid-July carried the virus.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. While the majority of people infected with West Nile virus do not get sick, those who become ill usually experience mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, skin rash, or muscle aches, according to a County news release.

Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill, said the release.

So far this year, Ontario Public Health has reported four “confirmed or probable” human cases of West Nile virus and 64 West Nile positive mosquito pools from 17 different health units.

Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health, recommended residents take precautions to prevent exposure to mosquitoes and to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their property.

Lambton Public Health’s precautions surrounding West Nile virus are listed below:

To reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:

  • Avoid areas with high mosquito populations.
  • Take extra precautions from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is high.
  • Wear protective, light-coloured clothing.
  • Use repellants containing DEET. Follow label instructions carefully.

To reduce mosquito breeding areas:

  • Drain areas of standing or stagnant water on your property.
  • Remove old tires; turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows.
  • Change water in bird baths at least weekly.
  • Keep eaves clear to avoid trapped water.

For more information or to report a dead bird, call the West Nile virus info line at 519-383-3824, toll-free at 1-800-667-1839 ext. 3824, or online at www.lambtonhealth.on.ca.

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