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For Immediate Release:
February 28, 2003

Region of Peel Releases 2003 West Nile Virus Prevention and Control Plan

(Brampton) - The 2003 West Nile Virus (WNV) Prevention and Control Plan was presented by Peel Health to General Committee today. The plan will focus on public education, surveillance, reduction of mosquito breeding areas, and measures to control mosquito larvae.

"In 2002, West Nile Virus was widespread in Peel, and we are certain that it will be present in Peel this year," said Dr. David McKeown, the Region of Peel's Medical Officer of Health. "The goal of the prevention and control plan is to minimize the impacts of the virus on human health. The plan emphasizes measures to prevent the spread of disease and protect the environment."

Peel Health has worked closely with the Mosquito Control Task Force which includes local municipalities, Credit Valley Conservation, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). The 2003 plan is based on recommendations from Health Canada and the US Centre for Disease Control.

Activities outlined in the plan include WNV public education and community outreach, human surveillance and provider education, dead crow and mosquito surveillance and larval mosquito control. If the WNV activity in Peel increases during the season, then surveillance, education and control methods will be intensified.

Larval mosquito control or larviciding is one of the most important additions to the 2003 WNV plan. The mosquito larval control program will include application of environment-friendly biological pesticides to standing water in roadside catch-basins in Mississauga, Brampton and in urban areas of Caledon. The Region of Peel will inform Peel residents about larviciding through local newspapers and postings on the WNV Web site.

Control of adult mosquitoes may be required if a significant risk of WNV to human health occurs despite the successful implementation of the other components of the plan. A contingency plan for adulticiding will be developed.

WNV was first detected in mosquitoes in Peel in 2001. As of February 14, 2003, there were 100 Peel residents reported with laboratory evidence of WNV infection from 2002, including two deaths. Twenty crows and 40 mosquito pools from Peel tested positive for the virus in 2002.

More information on West Nile Virus can be found at www.peel-bugbite.ca or by calling Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215

Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9 Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail



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