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Windsor-Essex trap catches mosquito known to transmit Zika
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’s mosquito surveillance program has trapped a mosquito known to transmit the Zika virus.
A single adult Aedes albopictus mosquito has been identified after being caught in one of the Windsor-Essex traps.
“There is no change in risk for Zika virus in our community and the Aedes albopictus mosquito found tested negative for Zika virus and West Nile virus,”said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ahmed.“The discovery of the Aedes albopictus again this year is an important reminder to everyone that we should continue to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites.”
Since the discovery of the Aedes species in 2016, the WECHU has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Public Health Ontario, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to enhance the local surveillance program to capture and identify invasive mosquitoes.
Aedes albopictus has been identified across the United States, including Vermont, New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
They feed on humans but they also feed on a variety of animals, which makes it less likely for them to be the primary mosquito for spreading the Zika virus.
The greatest risk to contracting Zika virus continues to be centred on those who have travelled to Zika-risk areas or who are or have been in sexual contact with these travellers.
Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, with peaks in activity in the early morning and late afternoon.
They typically lay eggs in and near standing water in items such as buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots, clogged gutters and old tires.
Here are some simple tips to help protect from mosquito bites:
- Remove any standing water in places such bird baths, buckets, old tires, pet water dishes and gutters around your property. Mosquitoes can breed in containers as small as a bottle cap!
- 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.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET, Icaridin, or other approved ingredients on clothing as well as exposed skin. Always read and follow label directions.
- Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.
- Call 311 or your local by-law enforcement for standing water observed in your community.
The WECHU will continue to conduct mosquito surveillance in Windsor and Essex County.
Based on the evidence gathered and collaboration with municipalities, the health unit will determine the best course of action moving forward and will inform the community on those next steps. For more information on Aedes albopictus, visit the Health Unit’s web page.