West Nile virus found across Ontario, data shows

Published On August 15, 2018 | By Christina Zisko | Health, News

West Nile Virus has been positively identified in 65 mosquito catch basins across Ontario, Public Health Ontario reports. (pixabay.com)

Christina Zisko

Ontario had 115 mosquito pools test positive for the West Nile virus this summer, Public Health Ontario reported.

Peel Region, consisting of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, has been the home of some of these positive pools, Peel Public Health confirmed.

It stated in a press release they found three mosquito traps, or catch basins, that have tested positive for the virus this summer.

The region monitors the virus by sampling mosquito catch basins, said Paul Callanan, director of health protection in Peel.

The virus isn’t an uncommon one, he said. “Pretty much every year there are positive pools. It depends on a large extent to the weather.”

There have not been any human cases of West Nile virus reported in Peel so far this summer, the release said.

However, six cases have been reported across various parts of Ontario. Ottawa, Brant County Middlesex-London and Windsor-Essex County each reported one case of the virus, and Toronto reported two human cases.

It is rare for the West Nile virus to progress to anything more than flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, tiredness and fever, Callanan said.

Some people with the virus do not even know they have it, as the symptoms are very similar to a summer cold or other virus, but one in 150 people with the virus could experience a more serious neuro-invasive disease.

To limit the risk of the virus “wear light coloured, long sleeved shirts and pants and use mosquito repellent containing DEET if older than six months of age,” the release said.

It’s important to be especially cautious in keeping vulnerable areas of the body covered during times when mosquitos are more active, such as dawn and dusk, Callanan said.

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Christina Zisko

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