KAWARTHA LAKES-Two human cases of west nile virus confirmed in the Kawarthas so far this summer according to local Health Units.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit confirms a resident within its region (Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) has been infected with the West Nile virus. The person was not hospitalized and is currently recovering. This is the first human case of West Nile virus reported in the Health Unit’s region since 2012. “The discovery of a human case of West Nile virus in our region is no surprise, given the wet weather this spring and summer that have created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes that can spread illness. We have also seen reports this summer of positive human cases of West Nile virus being detected in other parts of Ontario,” says Marianne Rock, Manager of Communicable Disease Control, Epidemiology and Evaluation for the HKPR DistrictHealth Unit.
Peterborough Public Health officials confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus acquired in that region today as well.
Officials are encouraging residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus in our area. “The wet summer is giving mosquitoes more places to breed, so we urge residents to keep their properties clean of standing water and brush and protect themselves from mosquito bites.” says Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.
Wanda Tonus, Public Health Inspector noted that the majority of WNV cases do not show symptoms. About 20% of infected people will experience mild illness with such symptoms as fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes that last several days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, or eye pain. Symptoms usually develop 2 to 14 days after receiving a bite from an infected mosquito. Less than 1% of infected people will develop neurological symptoms.
Although the risk of becoming infected is low, prevention against bites is the best protection. Individuals can protect themselves from bites in several ways:
- Cover up when going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn. Remember to wear:
- a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and long pants (tucked into your socks for extra protection)
- light-coloured clothing
- Clean up:
- once a week, get rid of standing water around your home in places such as bird baths, eavestroughs, wheelbarrows and flower pots etc. (mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, even small amounts)
- keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris (adult mosquitoes like to rest in dense shrubbery)
- turn your compost pile often
- Use insect repellent containing DEET. (DEET is a powerful chemical. Read the label carefully and apply as directed You can also ask your pharmacist for help when choosing a DEET product.)
Mosquitoes in the City of Peterborough tested positive for West Nile virus in July.