Huron County, ON – West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in Huron County. The Huron County Health Unit traps mosquitoes weekly and has them identified and tested. Two samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Positive mosquitoes have also been found this year in neighbouring health unit areas.
West Nile virus can spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. “The easiest way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites, especially during dawn and dusk when many mosquito species are most active,” says Public Health Inspector Mike Park.
Here are some simple precautions to help protect yourself from bites:
- Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toe shoes
- Use an insect repellant that has been approved by Health Canada, and always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Check the screens in doors and windows to ensure there are no tears or holes
- Disturb or eliminate any mosquito breeding grounds on your property. Dump any standing water in places such bird baths, buckets, old tires, pet water dishes and gutters.
For most people, the risk of getting infected with West Nile virus is low. However people can be at greater risk of serious health effects if they are over the age of 50, have a chronic disease such as cancer or diabetes, or have weakened immune systems.
Most people infected with West Nile Virus experience no symptoms or have flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, stiff neck, weak muscles, mild rash, or swollen glands.
In more rare and severe cases, symptoms may include severe headache, stiff neck, high fever, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, loss of consciousness, loss of coordination, nausea and muscle weakness and paralysis.
Mosquito activity decreases with cooler temperatures, but mosquitoes remain active until a significant frost event occurs.