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News Release

First human case of West Nile virus in Simcoe Muskoka for 2012

Sep 14, 2012
Recent laboratory tests have confirmed West Nile virus (WNv) infection in an adult from Orillia.
Recent laboratory tests have confirmed West Nile virus (WNv) infection in an adult from Orillia.

The individual was discovered during the routine screening process of a blood donation, demonstrating possible infection/exposure to WNv. Subsequent testing was positive for the virus. The individual is recovering at home.

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additional mosquito trapping as part of its ongoing WNv surveillance program, which will continue until mosquitoes are no longer active.

“We knew from our monitoring program that the virus was present in Simcoe Muskoka,” said Dr. Jim Pfaff, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “This local case should be a reminder to the public that it is still important to use personal protection to prevent mosquito bites.”

Measures for personal protection include:

  • Wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Using insect repellents and following the manufacturer’s directions
  • Staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk to dawn)
  • Keeping windows and doors closed, and checking screens to ensure there are no breaks and
  • Cleaning up standing water on your property (i.e. emptying rain barrels, wheelbarrows, etc.).


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, 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 encephalitis or death.

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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