The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) has identified six human cases of West Nile virus within the region. There was one death reported as a result of the virus in the area.
In 2017, there was one confirmed West Nile virus human case in the Haldimand and Norfolk area.
Most recent data from the HNHU West Nile Virus Surveillance program, which focuses on mosquito trapping and testing, indicate five mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile – two in Cayuga and one in each of Simcoe, Dunnville and Caledonia.
“The positive human cases and positive mosquito pools is a clear indication that threat of West Nile virus is present within our region and the public must take measures to protect themselves,” said Kwesi Douglas, program manager of Environmental Health at the HNHU.
West Nile virus has been considered endemic in Ontario for a number of years. It usually peaks in late summer, with cases being reported into the autumn months. It is expected that the virus will continue to pose a risk until temperatures are below freezing.
The HNHU is advising the public to take the following precautions to protect themselves from West Nile virus:
Apply mosquito repellant containing DEET, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Wear light coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants. Promptly eliminate standing water on your property, including water in eaves troughs or shallow containers such as bird baths, spare tires and flower pots.
Most people infected will not have any symptoms, while others may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. Those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of experiencing more serious health effects such as meningitis, encephalitis and acute flaccid paralysis.
If you experience any symptoms the HNHU recommends you seek medical attention.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit website at www.hnhu.org.