These pesky pests are a problem. West Nile virus in Ottawa has been found and the city's public health officials are warning people about it. There are things to do in order to protect yourself from mosquitoes that have the virus.

On August 11, Ottawa Public Health announced that the presence of West Nile virus has been confirmed.

The first mosquitoes of the year have tested positive for it after being trapped to see if they have it or not.

The organization wants everybody in the city to be on alert and do their part to reduce the mosquito population.

You can do that by getting rid of anything that can hold water outdoors like birdbaths or rain barrels. That's where they lay eggs.

To protect yourself from bites you can use a repellent with DEET or icaridin that's approved by Health Canada on your skin and clothing.

You can make sure that you have screens on all the doors and windows in your home and that they're in good condition.

Wearing light-coloured, tightly woven and loose-fitting clothing can also help.

Mosquitoes are the most active between dusk and dawn but they are around shady, bushy or wooded areas all the time.

While most people don't develop any symptoms if they get the virus, some experience flu-like symptoms that include fever, headaches, muscle aches and a rash.

Serious illness can happen with West Nile virus as it invades the body's central nervous system. The risk of that happening increases with age.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's chief medical officer of health, noted that with people spending more time outdoors now because of the pandemic, it's important to protect yourself.

She said that porches, gardens and parks "are ideal for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus."

So far this year, there have been no reported, probable or confirmed human cases of the virus in Ottawa.

As of August 5, no human cases have been reported in Ontario.

In 2019, there was just one reported human case in Ottawa and 24 in the entire province.

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