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News Release

Probable human case of West Nile virus in Simcoe Muskoka

Jul 25, 2014
A probable case of West Nile virus (WNv) infection has been identified by laboratory tests in an individual from Wahta Mohawk Territory. This is Simcoe Muskoka’s first probable case this year. Confirmatory testing is currently underway.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – A probable case of West Nile virus (WNv) infection has been identified by laboratory tests in an individual from Wahta Mohawk Territory. This is Simcoe Muskoka’s first probable case this year. Confirmatory testing is currently underway. 

“Although West Nile virus hasn’t been found in people yet this year in Ontario, we have a probable human case and that’s a reminder that we need to take precautions to protect ourselves from the virus,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “As long as mosquitoes are active, it is possible to become infected with West Nile virus through a bite.”

The health unit recommends the following personal protection measures:

  • Use an approved mosquito repellent, following the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Wear light-coloured clothing, covering arms and legs in areas where mosquitoes are present
  • Try to stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk to dawn) and
  • Remove standing water around your property.

The health unit will continue to conduct mosquito trapping as part of its ongoing WNv surveillance program, with increased surveillance in the area in agreement with Wahta Mohawk Council.

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

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 meningitis, encephalitis or death. Those at greatest risk of severe illness are people over the age of 50 and individuals with weakened immunes systems or chronic diseases. The health unit encourages the public to seek medical attention if they are experiencing any symptoms related to WNv.

“Past surveillance for West Nile virus in our region has shown that the virus is established and that we need to be aware,” said Dr. Gardner. “The best defense against the virus is personal protection.”

For more information about WNv and protecting yourself from mosquito bites, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. connect with the health unit on Facebook and Twitter, or visit simcoemuskokahealth.org.   

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