Toronto Has the First Human Case of West Nile Virus

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A resident from Toronto became the first confirmed case of West Nile this year after testing positive for the virus. According to the statement from the public health officials, there is no information on where in the city has the person become infected.

After being hospitalized for treatment, the person is recovering at home.

The risk of becoming infected with the virus is low, and Dr. Allison Chris – the associate medical officer of health from Toronto explains that there are many ways people can protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes during summer. She recommends insect repellent, light-colored clothes and keeping away from standing water:

“That would include mosquito repellent and DEET. And look around your environment, your property, your home. What you want to do is make sure you don’t have standing water. Secure the screens on your windows so that mosquitos don’t get into the house.”

Dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes are looking for “lunch,” so it’s best to either stay inside the house or use some mosquito repellent.

West Nile Virus Symptoms

Chris explains that if people are infected with the virus, they can develop various symptoms, which vary on the severity of the infection. While 80% of the people infected with the virus have no symptoms, there can also be some individuals with either common or severe symptoms.

“Those that get mild symptoms can include a fever, a headache, muscle pain, fatigue and sometimes nausea and vomiting,” explains Chris, adding that the severe symptoms are rare and include high and persistent fever, confusion and numb extremities. Her recommendation is to seek medical care if the infected individuals are concerned about the symptoms.

During the period between June and September, public health officials trap mosquitoes in the city to conduct laboratory tests and see if the insects are infected with the virus. Chris explained that in the last week of June they started testing the mosquitoes and until now they didn’t get “any positive mosquito pools.”

Last year in Toronto there were 26 individuals who tested positive for the West Nile virus.

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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