West Nile Virus Under the Control of West Nile Virus Ontario Regulation 199/03 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (R.R.O. 1990), the Northwestern Health Unit is required to provide a West Nile Virus public health program. The program includes public education, which is used to increase public awareness of West Nile Virus as a mosquito-borne disease and to emphasize personal protective measures individuals need to consider to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus, as well as mosquito surveillance and human surveillance.
Surveillance West Nile Virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by biting an infected bird. Mosquito surveillance is completed weekly throughout the Northwestern Ontario Region during the summer months to identify areas where there may be a potential risk to humans as well as to better understand the ecology of the West Nile Virus in Ontario.
Lyme Disease Lyme Disease is an infection spread by bacteria found in blacklegged ticks (deer ticks). As Lyme Disease is specified as a Reportable Disease, the Medical Officer of Health is required to provide a Lyme Disease Surveillance Program to detect and describe Lyme Disease illness in humans and identify risk factors including risk areas. The program includes which personal protective measures individuals need to consider to reduce their risk of exposure to the disease, as well as tick identification.
Passive Tick Identification Individuals can bring in any suspect blacklegged ticks to the Northwestern Health Unit. The tick will be assessed and/or tested for Lyme Disease. The collection of data from passive tick sampling will help identify local areas where the presence of Lyme Disease poses a risk to humans. However, the Northwestern Health Unit only collects ticks found on humans. Ticks found on pets will not be accepted for testing.