First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Confirmed In Windsor Essex This Year

Monday August 31st, 2020

Posted at 3:28pm

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A Windsor-Essex County resident has tested positive for West Nile virus for the first time this year, according to the Health Unit.

They say this marks the first clinically diagnosed and lab-confirmed human case for 2020 in the region.

The Health Unit says West Nile virus is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquitoes that have fed on birds that carry the virus. Most people with West Nile never develop symptoms, according to the Health Unit, and will not know that they have the virus and only about 20% of people develop symptoms of West Nile fever, with less than 1% developing severe neuro-invasive disease. The Health Unit says West Nile virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease.

“The mosquito species capable of spreading WNV have been identified throughout WEC through the health unit’s surveillance program,” says Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health. “This positive human case is a reminder for residents to continue to protect themselves from exposure while enjoying the outdoors. It is also important to remove any standing water around homes and businesses.”

The Health Unit says there are simple tips to help protect individuals from mosquito bites:

  • Remove all standing water on your property – call 311 or your local municipality to report standing water
  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET, Icaridin or other approved ingredients on clothing as well as exposed skin. Read and follow the manufacturers’ directions for safe use
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors. Light-coloured clothing is best as mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours
  • Limit the time you spend outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
  • Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.

The Health Unit says they’re continuing to work with each municipality during the summer to monitor and control West Nile. They say the 2020 surveillance program will continue throughout the rest of the season, along with the investigation of standing water complaints.

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