Lambton County Crow Tests Positive For West Nile Virus

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Confirmed tests received today by the Community Health Services Department indicate a dead crow found in northeast Sarnia on September 3 tested positive for West Nile virus.

This summer, the Community Health Services Department has submitted a total of six birds for testing; this is the first positive test result.

“This is the time of year when people are at the most risk of being exposed to mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus as activity generally increases throughout August and September,” said Dr. Chris Greensmith, (A) Medical Officer of Health for the County of Lambton. “Residents are urged to continue to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds on their properties.”

To reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:

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• 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

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The majority of people who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. Those who do become ill usually experience mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, skin rash or muscle aches. Less than 1% of people infected with the virus get seriously ill.

This year to date, there have been no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Lambton County and none of the mosquitoes trapped for surveillance have tested positive. There have been no human cases confirmed in Ontario so far for 2009.

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