Toronto's first case of West Nile virus for 2019 confirmed

Aug 13 2019, 7:51 am

Toronto Public Health has just confirmed the city’s first reported case of West Nile virus for 2019 in an adult resident.

According to the health agency, West Nile virus is an infection transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

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“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,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health in a statement.

“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.”

While the risk of getting infected in Toronto remains low, Toronto Public Health advises residents to take the following precautions to avoid bites from infected mosquitoes:

  • Wear light-coloured clothing, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET or icaridin and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours, dusk and dawn, by using repellent and covering up.
  • Make sure your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.
  • Remove standing water from your property, where mosquitoes can breed. Standing water includes any water that collects in items such as buckets, planters, toys and waste containers.

Toronto Public Health says West Nile virus symptoms usually develop between two and 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands.

Older individuals or individuals with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe illness.

In 2018, 39 laboratory-confirmed human cases of West Nile virus and 40 positive mosquito tests were reported to Toronto Public Health.

If you or a family member has concerns about any symptoms, the health agency advises contacting your health care provider.