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County resident tests positive for West Nile Virus

Ontario Public Health labs has confirmed a positive case of West Nile virus in a resident of Prince Edward County.

“This is the first direct evidence of WNv in our area this year, although regular mosquito surveillance is conducted by Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) throughout the summer,” said Karen La Rose, Communications Co-ordinator.

In response, HPEPH is applying larvicide within select locations of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties until Sept. 7. The pellet formulation of mosquito larvae control will be placed into catch basins that contain standing water. The larvicide is applied by technicians trained by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Early symptoms of West Nile virus can include fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, confusion, severe headache, sudden sensitivity to light, tremors, numbness, or vision loss. Most infected individuals have mild or no symptoms. In severe cases, WNv can cause inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. If individuals believe they are experiencing early symptoms of WNv, they are encouraged to contact their primary care provider.

“West Nile virus is an infection transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although the likelihood of getting a West Nile virus infection is low,” says Dr. Alexa Caturay, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH, “there are simple precautions that residents can take to protect themselves and their family against mosquito bites when outdoors.”

To prevent mosquito bites and reduce the chance of getting West Nile virus:

  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors for an extended time or when mosquitoes are active.
  • Apply a Health Canada approved insect repellent containing an ingredient effective against mosquitoes, such as DEET or icaridin, to exposed skin and clothing.
  • Remove any sources of standing water, since that is where mosquitoes lay their eggs.
  • Ensure all windows and door screens fit securely and are free of tears and holes.
  • If you encounter a dead bird don’t handle it with bare hands. Notify Public Health if clusters of dead birds or animals are found.

Each year, HPEPH monitors the adult mosquito population during summer months using light traps baited with carbon dioxide at various locations throughout Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. The traps are monitored on a weekly basis, and trapped mosquitoes are shipped to a laboratory where they are tested for WNv, to track the presence of the virus in our region.

For more information about West Nile virus, visit hpePublicHealth.ca or call 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 677.

 

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