Bird found dead in Peterborough region tests positive for West Nile virus

Click to play video: 'West Nile virus detected in Peterborough as mosquito season begins'
West Nile virus detected in Peterborough as mosquito season begins
Experts are calling it a perfect storm! Mosquitoes are biting at the bit following an unusual winter. At the same time, Peterborough Public Health is detecting the presence of West Nile virus, which is often transmitted through these pesky bugs. Robert Lothian explains what that means for the community – May 30, 2024

Health officials in Peterborough say a bird found dead in the region has tested positive for West Nile virus.

Peterborough Public Health says an American crow was found dead in early May and submitted for testing. The health unit serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

The health unit says birds and mosquitoes can carry and be a host for West Nile virus. Each summer and fall, the health unit sets traps weekly throughout Peterborough city and county to gather mosquito specimens for West Nile virus.

The health unit says in 2023, no mosquitoes found tested positive, however, there were confirmed human cases of the virus in Ontario.

Health officials note the majority of West Nile virus cases do not show symptoms. About 20 per cent of infected people will have a mild flu-like illness with fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes or other non-specific symptoms that last several days.

Story continues below advertisement

Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting or eye pain.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

“Less than one percent of infected people will develop neuro-invasive disease, with older age groups and males disproportionately affected,” the health unit stated.

To prevent contracting West Nile virus, the health unit advises the following:

  • Avoid interacting with dead birds.
  • If one is found on your property, use a shovel and gloves to pick it up and double bag it.
  • Report the bird to Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.
  • Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water.
  • Prevent mosquito bites: Cover up when going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn, use insect repellant containing DEET or icaridin, and remove brush and standing water from property as mosquitoes use this as a habitat.

The health unit says for additional information, visit the Peterborough Public Health website or Public Health Ontario.

— more to come


Sponsored content