With the rainy and damp weather among us, mosquito season is still well underway for Ontario residents. While many mosquitos are often harmless, Peel Public Health has officially confirmed its first human case of West Nile virus in a Peel resident for 2019. A resident of the region contracted the virus after being bitten by an infected mosquito this month. Public health officials are warning residents to protect themselves from potentially dangerous insects.
According to the Peel Region website, fifteen mosquito batches tested positive for West Nile virus in the region in September 2019. Eight of these mosquitos were in Brampton and seven in Mississauga. Thankfully, despite those unsettling numbers, the risk of contracting the virus is still low.
“While the risk of getting West Nile virus in Peel remains low, this case reinforces the need for all residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites when outdoors,” stated Dr. Lawrence Loh, chief medical officer of Health at the Region of Peel, in a news release.
Most people who contract West Nile Virus don’t show any symptoms. However, the 20 percent that do will experience mild flu-like symptoms and an even slimmer minority will suffer from a severe form of the disease.
You can protect yourself from the virus by warding off mosquito bites. Residents are being warned to apply bug spray and avoid busy or wooded areas and to drain stagnant water on their property.
Toronto's first case of the West Nile virus in 2019 came back in August. Overall Toronto Public Health reported 39 laboratory-confirmed human cases of West Nile virus and 40 positive mosquito tests in 2018.
"As we head into late summer, we know that residents and visitors to Toronto are maximizing their time outside to enjoy the weather and outdoor activities."
"We encourage everyone to take the appropriate precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to West Nile virus through the bite of an infected mosquito,” Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa has said at the time.
If infected, the West Nile Virus can begin it's symptoms anywhere from two to 14 days after contact.
Victims can often become feverish, nauseated, experience body aches and headaches, as well as swollen lymph glands and skin rashes.