HALDIMAND—The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) has identified six human cases of West Nile virus in the region. One death has been reported in the area. The HNHU was unable to disclose exact locations.

In 2017, there was only one human case in the region.

Recent data from the HNHU West Nile Virus Surveillance program, which focuses on mosquito trapping and testing, has found five West Nile-positive mosquito pools in the area, two in Cayuga and one in each of Dunnville, Caledonia and Simcoe.

“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 activity usually peaks in late summer, with cases being reported in the autumn months. The HNHU expects the virus will continue to pose a risk until temperatures fall below freezing.

West Nile virus has been considered endemic in Ontario for a number of years, and the public should always be taking precautions to protect themselves from the virus.

The HNHU is advising the public to take the following precaution to protect themselves from West Nile virus:

  • Applying mosquito repellant containing DEET, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    ·Avoiding being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
    ·Wearing light coloured clothing with long sleeves and pants.
    ·Promptly eliminating 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 hnhu.org.

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