East London Crow Tests Positive For West Nile Virus

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit announced that a dead crow found in London’s east end has tested positive for West Nile Virus and is the first in Middlesex-London to test positive for the disease this year.

“What this tells us is that West Nile Virus is still present in our community and that we need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves from mosquito bites and reducing the places where they breed,” says Andrew Powell, Vector-Borne Disease Coordinator with the Middlesex-London Health. “The community has always been a great partner in our surveillance and control programs, whether by letting us know when they find dead birds or by eliminating standing water found on their properties.”

To protect yourself and your family against West Nile Virus, the Health Unit recommends:

* Wearing light coloured clothing with long-sleeves, pants and socks in areas where mosquitoes are present, especially at dusk and dawn when they are most active.

* Using an insect repellent with DEET. Follow directions for use, especially for children.

* Fixing holes in screens, windows and doors.

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* Regularly emptying standing water from garbage cans, wheelbarrows, toys, flowerpots and saucers, pool covers, tires, and other items around your home and yard.

* Cleaning clogged eaves troughs.

* Cleaning and changing water in bird baths every other day.

* Keeping pool pumps circulating.

* Aerating ponds or stocking them with fish.

* Covering openings in rain barrels.

The MLHU Vector-Borne Disease Surveillance Team has made more than 2,104 monitoring visits to approximately 220 sites this summer, treating over eight hectares of surface water; this is in addition to the treatment of more than 100,000 roadside catch basins in London and Middlesex County. Although the Health Unit is reporting its first West Nile Virus-positive bird, none of the mosquitoes trapped so far this summer have tested positive for the disease.

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