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Bird tests positive for West Nile virus

SIMCOE, ON, AUG. 28, 2008 – A dead crow picked up in Simcoe has tested positive for West Nile virus.

“This is the first dead bird to test positive in Haldimand or Norfolk this season and it proves we have West Nile virus activity in the area,” said Cathy Lanni, Senior Health Inspector for the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “It is important that residents remain aware of the risk and take precautions to protect themselves from the virus.”

West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, which itself becomes infected from biting an infected bird.

To reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:

  • Avoid areas with high mosquito populations.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing, including long sleeves, pants and a hat, to cover exposed skin.
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET.
  • Make sure all windows and doors in your home have screens that are in good condition.
  • Take extra precaution from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is higher.

The best way to keep mosquitoes away from your home is to clean up breeding areas:

  • Drain areas of any standing or stagnant water on your property.
  • Remove old tires, and turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows.
  • Frequently change the water in bird baths, at least weekly.
  • Keep eaves clear to avoid trapped water.

The Health Unit’s West Nile Virus Surveillance Program aims to limit the public’s exposure to West Nile virus. Eighteen mosquito traps have been set up across Haldimand and Norfolk Counties for the summer months. To date, no mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus.

Nine birds have been collected and sent for testing; three birds collected in Haldimand and six birds collected in Norfolk.

The Health Unit is encouraging all residents to continue to report sightings of dead crows, ravens or jays by calling the Health Unit at 519-426-6170 Ext. 3470 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3470. For more information on West Nile virus, check the Health Unit website at

Media Contact:
Cathy Lanni, Senior Health Inspector
Healthy Environment Team,
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3205 or 905-318-6623Ext. 3205