First ever yellow fever mosquito captured in Windsor
In this Jan. 18, 2016, file photo, a female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo's University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP / Andre Penner)
The species responsible for the majority of human cases of Zika virus has been found in Windsor.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit confirms an adult Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, has been found locally in a single trap.
But the Health Unit says all mosquitoes found in the Windsor area have tested negative for Zika virus and West Nile virus.
The Health Unit adds there has not been, nor is there current risk of local mosquito Zika virus transmission in Windsor-Essex County. It also recommends no additional Zika virus testing for residents beyond the current guidelines.
This is the first time that an adult Aedes aegypti mosquito has been captured in Canada. Last year, Aedes aegypti larvae were found in the region through enhanced surveillance.
This discovery of adult Aedes aegypti, along with last week’s discovery of the 2 adult Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, indicates that the Aedes species may be starting to become established in the region.
“We will continue to ensure that our community stays informed about infectious diseases and our local mosquito surveillance program,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Acting Medical Officer of Health. “The discovery of the adult Aedes aegypti mosquito is an important reminder that we should continue to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”
The Aedes aegypti is responsible for the majority of human cases of Zika virus infections in the Caribbean, South America and Florida. In addition, these introduced Aedes mosquitoes can also cause Dengue fever and Chikungunya.
“With these Aedes species found in the area, I urge residents to remove all standing water from their homes and work,” adds Dr. Ahmed, who says these mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near standing water in items such as buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. It is important to change water regularly, especially in pet dishes and water in bird baths.
The Health Unit says the biting behaviour of the Aedes aegypti is different than those that transmit West Nile Virus in Ontario. It is a sneaky, human, daytime biter; it tends to approach humans from behind and bite them on the elbows and ankles.
While there is no change in the risk for Zika virus, the Health Unit reminds residents it is still important to protect yourself and family from mosquito bites. Individuals can do so in several ways:
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET, Icaridin or other approved ingredients on clothing as well as exposed skin. Always read and follow label directions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors. Light-coloured clothing is best as mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours.
- Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.