West Nile virus found in Ottawa mosquitoes for 1st time this year

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Wonder Lake

"West Nile virus can be passed through the bite of an infected mosquito and may cause serious illness", said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region's medical officer of health. The positive tests reported Tuesday were the first mosquitoes found with the virus in the county this year. Tips include emptying standing water sources, using appropriate insect repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers while outside and making sure door and window screens are secured.

West Nile is transmitted to people through the bite of Culex mosquitoes, according to the release.

Durham Region Health Department sets mosquito traps across the region and submits mosquitoes for laboratory testing every week between June and September. Emptying standing water from containers around the house, including tires, neglected swimming pools, bird baths, clogged gutters and buckets, can help.

Minimize outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Use insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin, following Health Canada's safety tips on using personal insect repellents.

Wearing light-coloured, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing, including long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks to protect exposed skin.

Ensuring all openings to rain barrels are covered with screen mesh at all times.

Most people who become infected, OPH says, will not develop any symptoms, but about one in five may experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches or a rash.

There have been no reported, confirmed or probable human cases of West Nile in Ontario yet this year, according to OPH.

There have yet to be any cases of the West Nile virus in humans in Ontario so far this year.

Symptoms usually appear two to 15 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito, and can be more severe in people over 50 or those with weakened immune systems.

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