The West Nile virus has been detected in our area for the first time this summer. The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit’s lab results show a batch of mosquitoes tested last week were positive for West Nile. It’s the first trace of the virus detected this year.
One case of the virus has been reported so far this year on a person in the Simcoe-Muskoka region.
Director of Environmental Health with HKPR, Christopher Beveridge is reminding people that late August and September is the peak season of West Nile virus activity.
You can reduce the risk of West Nile Virus by:
- Covering up when outside. Wear light-colour clothing and long-sleeved shirts, jackets, long pants, hats and socks. This is especially important between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. The Health Unit also recommends applying federally-registered insect repellent (like products containing DEET).
- Cleaning up and removing and standing water around homes, cottages or campsites. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to lay their eggs, no matter how little, so do not leave anything around that can collect water. Adult mosquitoes rest in dense shrubbery so keep bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris. Compost piles are something that needs to be turned on a regular basis. You should also make sure your homes are ‘bug tight’ by ensuring there are not holes in screens and windows are closed tightly.
Most people who get West Nile Virus do not experience symptoms; however people can develop flu-like symptoms. These include high fever, severe headache, muscle weakness and stiff neck. Severe cases can have people experiencing confusion, tremors and sudden sensitivity to light. Seek medical attention if you think you could have West Nile.
You can contact the Health Unit for more information at 1-866-888-4577 or www.hkpr.on.ca.
With information from the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit