The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) issued an alert to media confirming the first case this summer of a human infected with West Nile virus in the region.
“This first human case of the summer shows that West Nile virus remains a concern in our area,” stated Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, EOHU chief medical officer. “Residents should be aware and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.”
The EOHU has a regular annual monitoring program for West Nile virus in local mosquito populations. So far none of the mosquitoes caught in the monitor traps tested positive as carriers but the confirmed human case of infection indicates the virus is present in some of Eastern Ontario’s mosquito population.
West Nile precautions
The bite of an infected mosquito infects humans with the diseasea. The infection risk is low for most people but some may be more susceptible to serious illness.
Anyone who goes outdoors for work or recreation should use insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin. Follow the label instruction for proper application and make sure there is a light coating on any exposed skin.
Wear light-coloured clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants, and also wear socks. Avoid being outside during either dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Mosquito-proof the home by making sure all screens, windows, and doors are sealed against insects. Also make sure any sources of standing water are emptied out to eliminate potential breeding areas for mosquito larvae. That includes wading pools that are not in use, old tires used for swings or other purposes, pool covers, and flowerpot saucers. Empty the water in bird baths and outside water bowls for pets on a regular basis.
If there are irrigation or drainage ditches nearby with standing water, use a biological larvacide that will attack any mosquito larvae present in the water, without harming any other creature or plant.
More information on West Nile virus is available at www.eohu.ca.