Four residents of Halton have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in what the Health Department confirms are the first human cases of the region this year.
“While 80 per cent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, others will have West Nile fever consisting of fever, headache, muscle ache and a rash. If residents are concerned or experiencing symptoms, I would encourage them to visit their health care professional,” says Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Acting Medical Officer of Health of Halton.
Mosquitoes carrying WNV are more likely to breed in urban areas and in places that hold standing water such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires.
Residents are encouraged to take the following steps to reduce the risk of getting bitten:
• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.
• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
As part of its ongoing West Nile prevention program, Halton Region staff continually monitor areas of standing water, eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites and larvicide when mosquito larvae is found.
For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.