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News Release

First human cases of West Nile virus in Simcoe Muskoka for 2013

Aug 20, 2013
Recent laboratory tests show two probable human cases of West Nile virus (WNv) infection in Simcoe Muskoka, in the municipalities of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the City of Barrie.

­­­SIMCOE MUSKOKA – Recent laboratory tests show two probable human cases of West Nile virus (WNv) infection in Simcoe Muskoka, in the municipalities of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the City of Barrie. The results of further tests are pending before the cases can be confirmed as West Nile virus. In addition, a positive WNv mosquito pool has been identified in the City of Barrie.  

 “These two probable cases of WNv, as well as the positive mosquito pool, are reminders that people need to use personal protection to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Jim Pfaff, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “The months of highest risk for human WNv illness are August and September, another good reason for people to take measures protect themselves.”

Measures for personal protection include:

  • Using insect repellent and following the manufacturer’s directions
  • Wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk to dawn), and
  • Keeping windows and doors closed, and checking screens to ensure there are no breaks or rips.

The majority of people infected with WNv do not show any symptoms, and most of those who do show symptoms will experience mild illness which may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or vomiting. 

Less than one per cent of those infected with WNv will experience serious symptoms, which may include high fever, severe headache, muscle weakness, stiff neck or confusion. However, in rare instances the virus can cause encephalitis or death. Those at greatest risk of severe illness are people over the age of 50 and people with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems.

The health unit will conduct additional mosquito trapping as part of its ongoing WNv surveillance program, which will continue until mosquitoes are no longer active.

For more information about WNv and how to protect yourself and your family, call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit our website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.

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