Health Unit Starts West Nile Campaign Early

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit wants to get a head start on controlling the mosquito population.

There were only two confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Windsor-Essex last year according to the health unit's Dr. Wajid Ahmed.

The health unit brought in a pest control expert Kevin Taylor to demonstrate how they eliminate mosquitoes before they're even born at Ojibway Park Monday.

Ahmed says with warm-wet weather keeping the mosquito population that carries the virus under control is a proactive step.

"Right now both conditions are present, that's why we're starting a little bit early this year and we will continue to monitor every week until we get to the point where the weather in not conducive to mosquito growth," he says.

Up to 80% of people don't show symptoms when contracting the virus, according to Ahmed.

He told AM800 News preventative measures are key because it's impossible to eliminate mosquitoes completely.

"They're more active at the dawn and dusk times.  People should be wearing light coloured clothes, wearing insect repellant containing DEET, wearing long sleeve shirts and just protect themselves and enjoy the outdoors," says Ahmed.

The health unit is doing its part, but Taylor says there's plenty of things property owners can do to pitch in. 

Taylor uses a bacteria called BTI to kill mosquito larva. 

He says the product is only harmful to mosquitoes, but it's regulated by the Canadian government.

Taylor told AM800 News eliminating standing water is the best way to keep the insects at bay, but for pools of water too big to clean up there are products available.

"There is a few products people can use, one is a BTI mosquito dunk, that you should be able to get, the thing is that you can only really put it into your own water on your own land," Taylor says. "You can't live at the back of a wetland and put that in the water."

Taylor says another thing people overlook is their rain gutters.

He says water can sit there for weeks and becomes a breeding ground for all types of insects.