Annual West Nile elimination program begins in Guelph, Wellington, Dufferin

Work to reduce local West Nile virus cases is now underground.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced it has begun its annual mosquito larvicide program, which sees “trained technicians apply larvicide by hand in areas of standing water in and around communities in Wellington and Dufferin counties,” which goes on to reduce or eliminate mosquito populations known to carry West Nile virus, according to a news release.

“Mosquitoes are more than just a spring and summertime announcement. Some species may carry the West Nile virus, which, if transmitted to humans, may cause flu-like symptoms and in rare cases, inflammation of the brain or spinal column can occur, which may result in permanent disability or death,” Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, stated in the release.

“By proactively treating areas of standing water on municipal property, we’re helping to prevent these areas from becoming sites for mosquitoes to breed.”

Last year, there was one confirmed human case and two cases in birds found in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s jurisdiction.

Public Health is also encouraging property owners to remove standing water from places like flowerpots, bird baths, wheelbarrows, eaves troughs, tires and rain barrels.

To reduce the risk of mosquito bites and potential exposure to West Nile, Public Health recommends residents wear light-coloured pants and long-sleeved shirts, avoid being outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes tend to feet, and to use a mosquito repellent with DEET or icaridin for adults and children over six months of age, as is recommended by Health Canada.

For information on the products used in the larvicide program, contact the Canadian Center for Mosquito Management by calling 1-855-220-7022.

If you have a catch basin on your property and would like to have it treated at no cost, call Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health at 1-800-265-7293, ext. 4753.

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