Hamilton confirms first human case of West Nile Virus this year

Hamilton public health has confirmed its first known human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) for the season.

The news has prompted the city’s medical officer of health to move the local risk of WNV from moderate to high.

West Nile Virus is spread by bites from infected mosquitoes, and locals are reminded to take precautions against getting bitten including using mosquito repellent while outdoors, wearing light-coloured long sleeves and long pants, and removing standing water from properties; especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Approximately 80 per cent of those infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms, but the remaining 20 per cent can develop severe illness including inflammation of the brain and the brain’s lining.

If symptoms of WNV do appear, they often manifest within 14 days of infection.

“It is important to take precautions to avoid illnesses spread by insects including West Nile Virus, Lyme disease, and Eastern equine encephalitis,” said Dr. Bart Harvey, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health.

“Employing simple preventive measures such as using insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, covering up, and removing standing water on your property to prevent mosquito breeding will reduce your risk while you enjoy the outdoors. The risk of these infections will drop once there is a heavy frost that reduces the number of mosquitoes.”

 Read the full release on the city website.

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