Mosquitos are coming and so are larvicide crews in Windsor-Essex

·2 min read
Mosquitos, which spread West Nile virus, are shown in a file photo.   (Evans Caglage/The Associated Press - image credit)
Mosquitos, which spread West Nile virus, are shown in a file photo. (Evans Caglage/The Associated Press - image credit)

Crews will soon begin scouting for standing water in Windsor-Essex in preparation for mosquito larviciding in June.

It's part of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's (WECHU) strategy to reduce the risk of West Nile virus.

Mark Ardis, scientific advisor to GDG Canada, which has been contracted to do the work, said the company will be looking to determine where and when to apply treatments to control the mosquito population before they become adults.

The larviciding will focus on areas such as storm drains and surface water. There are around 45,000 catch basins in Windsor-Essex that will be treated three times throughout the summer, he said.

West Nile is very dependent on temperature, Ardis said.

"The hotter it is, the more risk there is for West Nile virus transmission and Windsor-Essex ... is the southernmost point in Canada and in Ontario, so it is one of the, I would say, areas that has more West Nile virus activity."

In addition to the larviciding effort, surveillance for West Nile virus is conducted by WECHU. Last year, the health unit tested 2,052 mosquito pools and 1.5 per cent came back positive for West Nile.

"We see cases every year with positive mosquito pools so it's a great reminder for people, when they are enjoying the outdoors, to be mindful of these mosquitos and how to protect themselves from getting bitten," Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, said on Wednesday.

In 2020, there were three known cases of West Nile in Windsor-Essex. The virus is spread to humans through bites from infected mosquitos, and mosquitos catch the virus from infected birds.

According to WECHU, 70 to 80 per cent of people who get West Nile don't experience any symptoms.

Nearly 20 per cent, however, will get West Nile fever, which can include fever, head and body aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. The virus can also cause serious symptoms in rare cases.

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