Protect Yourself – Bites Can Cause Disease!

(Aug. 30, 2013) – Don’t let a tick or a mosquito bite ruin your fun outdoors. Protect yourself against mosquitoes that can give you[11] West Nile Virus (WNV) and ticks that can give you Lyme disease.

“We are encouraging residents to protect themselves by wearing insect repellent to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks that can cause disease,” says Dr. David Mowat, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Region of Peel.

Peel Public Health is currently investigating what appears to be a locally acquired case of Lyme Disease. There were two locally acquired cases of the disease identified in 2012.

Residents can protect against WNV by:

wearing light colours, long sleeves, long pants and a hat
avoiding areas with high mosquito populations, and taking extra precautions at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
removing objects around their home that can hold standing water, which are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes

Residents can protect against Lyme Disease by:

wearing long-sleeved shirts and tucking long pants into boots or socks
staying on hiking trails and avoiding areas of overgrown bush and long grass
checking themselves, their children and pets for ticks when returning home from the outdoors

“We have not identified specific areas with infected ticks in Peel, but there are other areas in Ontario that have well-established populations of infected ticks that can cause disease,” continues Mowat. “Ticks are often transported from one place to another on migratory birds, so it’s impossible to predict where and when a tick bite by an infected tick can happen.”

If residents find a tick on their skin, they should remove it gently with tweezers and place it in a screw-top bottle. They can take it to Peel Public Health at 7120 Hurontario Street in Mississauga from Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. so that it can be identified. If it is a black-legged tick (the only species whose bite can cause Lyme Disease), it will be tested.

Peel Public Health’s Vector-Borne Disease Prevention Plan focuses on WNV and Lyme Disease. The plan identifies Peel Public Health activities to test and monitor mosquito and tick populations and to educate and protect residents.

As part of the plan, Peel Public Health is currently on its third and final round of larviciding, which eliminates mosquito larvae in road-side catch basins. Weekly testing of mosquitoes will continue until the end of September.

Residents can register online at peel-bugbite.ca to receive email notifications of WNV activity in Peel. For more information on these diseases and to learn how you can protect yourself and your family, visit peel-bugbite.ca or call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700. Caledon residents can call toll free at 905-584-2216.

The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton and the Town of Caledon.

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