Huron County, ON – With the warm fall continuing, bugs are still active. The Huron County Health Unit is reminding people to protect themselves against tick and mosquito bites.
In addition to the West Nile Virus, mosquitoes are also capable of transmitting Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV), which mainly affects horses.
Mosquito surveillance has recently found a positive pool of EEEV in Huron County. “The risk of human infection of EEEV is very low, but precautions should still be taken,” says Public Health Inspector Mike Park. “Horses are much more at risk of illness from EEEV and should be vaccinated against it.”
Most human cases of EEEV do not display symptoms, however in rare cases symptoms can include:
- Sudden onset of headache
- High fever
- Severe cases can have encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain)
Most people infected with West Nile virus also do not experience any symptoms. Those who do, however, may experience:
- Body aches
- Skin rash
- Occasionally, vomiting and nausea
Ticks are also still active and will be around until the snow falls. Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria and is spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. A tick must be attached and feeding for at least 24 hours before transmitting the bacteria, so early detection and removal is important. Early symptoms of Lyme disease can include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- An expanding rash that may resemble a bull’s eye
If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider.
Protect yourself from tick and mosquito bites when outdoors:
- Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes.
- Use an insect repellent approved by Health Canada and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply insect repellent after applying sunscreen.
- Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitos are most active, at dawn and dusk.
- Conduct head-to-toe tick checks. If you find a tick on you, remove it by grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible using tweezers and pulling it straight out slowly but firmly. Place the tick in a container and bring it to your healthcare provider or to the Huron County Health Unit for identification, and testing if needed.