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West Nile Virus

Last updated: April 24, 2023 

What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?

WNV is a virus that can be passed onto humans by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can become carriers of WNV when they bite infected birds, the natural carriers of WNV. Fortunately, humans with WNV cannot give the disease to other humans under normal circumstances. WNV is well established in Canada and the United States, so preventing mosquito bites and mosquito breeding is highly important for protecting yourself and others from disease. For prevention strategies, please visit our mosquito webpage 

Who is at Risk for West Nile Virus?

In general, older adults (60+) and those with compromised or developing immune systems are at higher risk for developing severe illness. WNV can be fatal. In most cases, WNV infection will result in mild or even no symptoms at all. Those with mild symptoms usually recover in about one week. 

What are the Symptoms of West Nile Virus?

Symptoms of WNV include: 

  • Fever 
  • Headache 
  • Body aches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Rash 
  • In severe cases, neurological symptoms can occur as a result of potential encephalitis and/or meningitis.  

How can I protect myself from West Nile Virus?

The best means of prevention is to reduce the mosquito population by eliminating breeding grounds and protect yourself from mosquito bites. Visit our Mosquito webpage for more information.  

How is West Nile Virus Monitored? 

WNV surveillance and data collection occurs at the federal, provincial and local levels. Peterborough Public Health conducts surveillance during the summer months through mosquito trapping, and testing mosquitoes to determine the presence of WNV within the Peterborough region. Species identification is also performed and important since only certain mosquitoes can carry WNV, and identification of new species bring the possibility for new diseases into the community. Traps are maintained and monitored daily from early June to late August. 

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