The Regional Municipality Of York

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West Nile virus and Lyme disease activity continues in York Region



Protect yourself and your family from vector-borne diseases as the warmer weather arrives

Newmarket – With increasingly warmer temperatures come the risk of the dreaded bug bite. The Regional Municipality of York will begin its 2019 vector-borne disease program this May to limit the impact of West Nile virus and Lyme disease across the Region.

“Our surveillance findings predict that infected ticks and mosquitos will continue to be present in the Region,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Everyone who is outside during the warmer months is at risk and should take steps to prevent being bitten. If residents find a tick, they are advised to remove it quickly and contact York Region Public Health for tick identification and testing.”

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected vector, such as mosquitoes, that can spread West Nile virus or blacklegged ticks infected with Lyme disease. Ontario Public Health units manage these diseases in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Ontario Public Health Standards.

York Region Public Health monitors West Nile virus and Lyme disease through four surveillance techniques: mosquito surveillance, passive tick surveillance, active tick surveillance and human case surveillance.

In 2018, 16 mosquito traps tested positive for West Nile virus and three human cases were reported. To monitor for Lyme disease risk, active tick surveillance in 2018 found a substantial increase of blacklegged ticks, with 28 ticks found and one tick testing positive for Borellia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. The Humber Valley in the City of Vaughan is the newest Lyme disease risk area identified in York Region. Lyme disease risk areas have already been identified in the Rouge Valley, North Tract York Regional Forest, Joker’s Hill and the areas surrounding these locations.

If heading outdoors this spring or summer, follow these tips to protect yourself and your family:

  • Wear light-colored clothes and long–sleeved tops to help spot ticks and deter mosquitoes
  • Clean up standing water around your home where mosquitos like to breed (old tires, pool covers)
  • Choose closed toe footwear
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin
  • Search your body for ticks, especially through the groin, scalp, back and underarm areas
  • Remove attached ticks from your body as quickly as possible

For more information on vector-borne diseases or to report stagnant water in your community, contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933. More information is also available at york.ca/westnile and york.ca/lymedisease

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 52,000 businesses with over 636,600 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at york.ca/regionalservices

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Media Contact:

Andrea Griepsma, Corporate Communications,
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675 ext. 71233 or
Cell: 905-251-6413
Email: andrea.griepsma@york.ca


West Nile Virus; York Region; The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release