November 22,

First Human Case of West Nile Virus

August 18, 2017 – Residents Reminded to Take Precautions

Today Peterborough Public Health officials confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) acquired locally.

“With confirmation of our first human case of the season, we encourage residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of West Nile virus in our area,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “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.”

As of August 12, 2017, Public Health Ontario (PHO) indicated there have been eight reported (confirmed or probable) human WNV cases in the province, including both locally-acquired and travel-related cases. PHO’s surveillance reports also state that so far in 2017 there have been 172 WNV positive mosquito pools, from 24 different health units across Ontario. This includes one positive pool found in the City of Peterborough in July.

Dr. Salvaterra 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, eaves troughs, 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.)

For additional information on protection measures against West Nile virus such as reducing mosquito breeding sites and the safe use of insect repellents, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391

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