By Robert Mackenzie
Published Aug. 24 2017
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge Health Unit is warning residents to take precautions against mosquitoes after a local person was infected with West Nile virus for the first time in the region since 2012.
On July 6 the health unit detected West Nile virus among mosquitoes trapped in Haliburton County. Mosquitoes have also tested positive for the virus in Peterborough Durham Region and Hastings County this summer. The local who was infected with the virus was not hospitalized and is now recovering.
In a press release Marianne Rock the health unit’s manager of communicable disease control epidemiology and evaluation said it’s safe to assume that the virus is present throughout the province. “Don’t be complacent because wherever you live it’s important to reduce your risk of mosquitoes that can spread illness” Rock said.
In order to reduce the risk of West Nile the health unit is asking residents to cover up when outside – especially between dusk and dawn – by wearing long sleeves and applying bug spray. The health unit is also reminding residents to clean up and eliminate breeding areas by removing standing water in places like old containers and bird baths keeping bushes and shrubs clear of overgrowth and debris and regularly turning over compost piles.
So far this year there have been eight reported human cases of West Nile virus in Ontario. The virus is mainly spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. In a small number of cases individuals who contract the infection may develop flu-like symptoms such as high fever severe headache muscle weakness and stiff neck between two and 14 days after being bitten. In a few cases more serious symptoms may develop. The health unit advises people who suspect they have West Nile virus to seek medical attention.