On October 22, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) sent a press release advising the public that this year’s first human case of the West Nile virus had been detected in the region. The virus is carried by infected mosquitos and transferred through bites, and the positive human case indicates that the virus is present in the local mosquito population despite no mosquitos testing positive for the disease in the past.
“This first human case of the year shows that West Nile virus remains a concern in our area throughout the fall,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Chief Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “Residents should be aware and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
For most, West Nile virus does not carry a huge health risk. However, some vulnerable populations will experience severe symptoms, so caution is warranted. Residents are advised to avoid mosquitos as best they can if they weren’t doing so already. Effective precautions include:
• Using federally approved insect repellents containing DEET or icaridin
• Wearing light-coloured clothing, long sleeves, pants, and socks when outside
• Avoiding being outside at dusk and dawn, as mosquitoes are the most active at that time
• Regularly draining standing water from around the yard
• Ensuring that screens, windows, and doors are fully sealed