Halton Resident Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

A Halton resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).

It's the first confirmed human case for Halton this year.

"The Halton Region Health Department works diligently to reduce the risk of West Nile virus in our community through both education and preventative programs such as larviciding," said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region.

"Until the fall frost, Halton residents should continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites and remove mosquito breeding sites."

While 80 per cent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, "others will have West Nile fever consisting of fever, headache, muscle ache and a rash. If residents are concerned or experiencing symptoms, I would encourage them to visit their health care professional."

Residents are encouraged to take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

* Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home at least once a week by getting rid of water in containers and objects such as wheelbarrows, tires, plant pots, old toys, plastic pails and wading pools.

* Avoid areas where mosquitoes are known to be present such as wooded areas, golf courses or gardens, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

* If you are going to areas where mosquitoes are active, cover up by wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly woven fabric.

* Use a mosquito repellent (bug spray) containing DEET or Icaridin.

* Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

Also change the water in bird baths at least once per week.

If residents see standing water on public property for longer than a week, they can report it to Halton Region by emailing accesshalton [at] halton [dot] ca or calling 311.

As part of its ongoing West Nile virus surveillance and larviciding program, Halton Region Health Department staff continue to monitor areas of standing water, eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites and apply larvicide when mosquito larvae is found during Regional monitoring and surveillance. For more information on Halton Region's West Nile virus program, visit halton.ca

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