Two mosquitos known to transmit Zika found in Windsor-Essex trap
A mosquito acquires a blood meal from a human at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta in 2006. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention / James Gathany)
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says two adult Aedes albopictus mosquitoes have been identified in May through an enhanced mosquito trap.
When analyzed in the laboratory, the two mosquitoes both tested negative for Zika virus and West Nile virus.
After the discovery of the Aedes species in the area in 2016, the Health Unit has conducted Enhanced Mosquito Surveillance to monitor for the presence of the Aedes species in the City of Windsor and Essex County.
In 2017, three adult Aedes albopictus mosquitoes were identified in enhanced mosquito traps.
This prompted further field surveillance with Public Health Ontario and Brock University which identified another two adults and 42 larvae Aedes albopictus all of which tested negative for Zika virus and West Nile virus.
“Keeping our community informed about infectious diseases and the local mosquito surveillance programs is a key role of public health,” said Dr. Ahmed, Acting Medical Officer of Health.
"The discovery of the Asian tiger mosquitoes again this year is an important reminder to everyone that we should continue to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”
The greatest risk to contracting Zika virus continues to be centred on those who have travelled to Zika-risk areas (such as South America, the Caribbean and Florida) or who are or have been in sexual contact with these travellers.
Unlike many Ontario mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, with peaks in activity in the early morning and late afternoon.
These mosquitoes do not breed in ponds, puddles or marshes. They 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.
While there is no change in risk for Zika virus in our community, it is still important to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
Individuals can protect themselves 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.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will further investigate the site where the two adult Aedes albopictus mosquitoes were found.