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West Nile Virus Media Release

 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Protect yourself from West Nile virus and Lyme disease

Human cases of West Nile virus and Lyme disease identified in York Region

Newmarket – The Regional Municipality of York is reminding residents to Fight the Bite against mosquitoes and ticks by taking the proper precautions when outdoors. One human case of West Nile virus and three human cases of Lyme disease have been identified in York Region.

“Increased rainfall has contributed to rising mosquito populations and ongoing surveillance shows us blacklegged ticks are present in York Region,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Being informed and taking precautions when outdoors remain the best methods of personal protection.”

While the human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed as travel-related, three mosquito traps in York Region tested positive for West Nile virus earlier this year. Of the three Lyme disease human cases identified, two were acquired locally.

West Nile virus

  • West Nile virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. York Region Public Health’s West Nile virus Control Plan for 2017 includes larviciding catch basins and other stagnant public water sources, such as roadside ditches along Regional and municipal roads; private backyard catch basins are treated upon request
  • Residents who spend time outdoors during summer months should take steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes

Lyme disease

  • Ticks can typically be found on tall grasses and bushes in wooded areas almost anywhere in Ontario, including York Region
  • Lyme disease is passed to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick
  • If you find a tick, remove it quickly using tweezers; store it in a resealable plastic container or bag in the fridge and bring it to a York Region Public Health office for identification and testing
  • Prompt removal of a tick after attachment (within 24 hours) greatly reduces the chance of infection
  • Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if you have been, or believe you have been, bitten by a tick

Prevention and protection tips

  • Clean up standing water around your home where mosquitoes like to breed
  • Cover up when you go outdoors by wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin
  • Shower when you get home to remove unattached ticks
  • Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks
  • Remove any attached ticks as quickly as possible and submit to public health for testing

For more information on West Nile virus or Lyme disease, visit york.ca/westnile, york.ca/lymedisease or contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653; TTY 1-866-512-6228.

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns, and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents, 50,000 businesses and 595,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

Media Contact:

Ben Mulholland, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
1-877-464-9675 ext. 74067, ben.mulholland@york.ca
After-hours: 905-806-1216, chs_media@york.ca