In Eastern Canada and the United States, the West Nile Virus is known to exist, operating usually in the summer months when mosquitos are out and about. Although not a particularly dangerous condition for most people, it can affect the elderly or people already with health problems. If you have any questions regarding West Nile, contact the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
In 2003, SARS was discovered in Ontario, but there were no cases in Ottawa, as all were confined to Toronto and the surrounding area. Again, contact the Health Ministry if you have any questions.
While walking down Elgin Street, I saw this sign outside of the local pharmacy. I thought it was kind of funny. "Mosquito jackets - protects against West Nile virus"
I mean, obviously it is a concern, but this sign was kind of comical - just blatantly there on the sidewalk. In recent months there was the SARS outbreak... and then now there's West Nile. (And a month later would be Mad Cow all over again! And then SARS again!)
I was luckily in Ottawa during an unseasonally late spring... it wasn't too hot, it wasn't too cold... it certainly wasn't winter, but the bugs had not come out yet, so I didn't have to worry about mosquitos.
Apparently in the summer, mosquitos are a bother in the Ottawa area.
When I arrived home after my trip here, there were several reports about Ottawa birds that had died because of West Nile. So the warning is not just a scare... West Nile does exist in this part of Canada...
... but maybe use the mosquito repellant in the meantime!