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Health Unit investigating West Nile Virus in human

The Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit is investigating a “probable” case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in a Belleville area resident.

Although Health Unit officials have confirmed the virus in mosquitoes on August 23rd, this is the first human case reported to the Health Unit this year.  Overall there have been four lab confirmed cases of WNV in Ontario for 2011.
“This serves as a reminder for all of us to take appropriate precautions and avoid mosquitoes” says Bill Sherlock, Clinical Services Manager at the Health Unit.
WNV first appeared in Ontario in 2001 and is transmitted by mosquitoes that have fed on the blood of infected birds. The majority of people who contract WNV will show no symptoms. Approximately 20% of those infected with WNV will experience mild illness including fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting and a skin rash.  A very small proportion of people will experience neurological symptoms.  Avoiding mosquitoes is the best way to prevent WNV.

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West Nile Virus found in Picton

Laboratory results indicate an increased risk of contracting West Nile Virus in the Picton area.

Mosquitoes collected Aug. 23rd were sent to GDG Laboratory for testing and have been confirmed positive for the virus.  This is the first pool of mosquitoes in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties to test positive.

West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that have fed on the blood of infected birds.  The virus can cause health problems in people of all ages and health status, however the extent and severity of the symptoms varies from person to person.  Most people who contract West Nile Virus will show no symptoms or flu-like symptoms, while older people and those with weakened immune systems may experience more serious complications.  At this time there is no specific treatment for the infection, so protection is the best way to avoid problems.

“Since positive mosquitoes have been found in a populated area we are reminding people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites as we now have confirmation of West Nile Virus activity in our area” says Eric Serwotka, Director of the Environmental Health Department at the Health Unit.

Residents are reminded to:
·         Avoid areas with high mosquito populations.
·         Wear light-coloured clothing, including long sleeves, pants and a hat, to cover exposed skin even in your own backyard.
·         Use a mosquito repellent containing DEET. Adults can use repellents containing 30 per cent DEET but children should wear a repellent with no more than 6 to 10 per cent DEET. Follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully.
·         Drain any areas of stagnant water on your property. Remove old tires, turn over pails, toys and wheelbarrows, and frequently change the water in birdbaths. Also, keep your eaves troughs clear to avoid trapped water.
·         Take extra precautions from dusk to dawn when mosquito activity is higher.
·         Make sure your door and window screens have no holes and fit tightly.
For more information and future updates regarding positive mosquitoes, click on the West Nile Virus link in the Vector Borne Disease folder under the Environmental Health drop down menu at the top of the menu bar of the Health Unit Web site www.hpechu.on.ca

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  1. Liz Howes says:

    Has anyone ever looked at the roof of the Health Unit in Picton?! Flat and pooling with water…..a perfect home for the larvae.

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