print header

News Release

Update on the 2011 West Nile virus season

Dec 19, 2011
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit recently received confirmation that two people in the region tested positive for West Nile virus (WNv) this fall.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit recently received confirmation that two people in the region tested positive for West Nile virus (WNv) this fall. The two cases, from Barrie and Wasaga Beach, are the first human cases of WNv the area has experienced since 2006. Based on a review of these cases, it’s likely that the Barrie case acquired the virus locally, while the Wasaga Beach case may have been acquired in another jurisdiction where WNv was more active.

“By the time we received notification of these cases the risk to the public had passed, however this serves as a reminder that West Nile virus is established in our area and the risk, while unpredictable from season to season, is something we need to be aware of,” said Dr. Jim Pfaff, associate medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

West Nile virus cases in humans in Ontario have been highly variable since the virus first arrived, ranging from 394 cases in 2002 to just one case in 2010.

WNv is endemic seasonally and present in some areas more than others. The virus can be spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become carriers of the virus when they feed on infected birds. Human infections from the virus are not common, most having no symptoms and those affected usually experience only mild symptoms such as fever or headaches; however the illness can be serious and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) can occur in a small number of cases.

“While it’s not possible to eliminate all risks, people do need to continue to take the appropriate measures to protect themselves,” said Dr. Pfaff. “That means personal protection, such as avoiding mosquitoes when they are most active, covering up and using insect repellant, is important during mosquito season.”

More information on WNv is available at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, or by calling Your Health Connection Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

-30-


Did you find what you were looking for?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?
Page
Feedback

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...