Between June and October, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health collect and test mosquitoes from various sites in the city for the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV). In recent weeks, the presence of WNV has been detected at one of those sites.
Other locations in Ontario have also detected the presence of WNV in mosquitoes, and there have been a few cases of WNV in humans mainly in the Greater Toronto area. KFL&A Public Health has not reported any human cases this year.
WNV is a virus that is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and can be transmitted to both humans and animals. Most people will have no symptoms. Some develop mild “flu-like“ illness with fever, headache and body aches, and occasionally have a mild rash or swollen lymph glands. Fewer individuals, particularly those over 50 years of age, may have more serious illness with severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and various neurological symptoms. People with suspected WNV should be evaluated by a health care practitioner and tested appropriately.
“Prevention is key” says Dr. Kieran Moore, Associate Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health. “There is no specific treatment or cure for WNV. Reducing outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, using an insect repellant that contains DEET, and wearing clothes that cover the body can reduce the risk of contracting the virus”. Changing the water in bird baths every couple of days and eliminating other areas of stagnant water will also reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Ontario had 78 reported human cases of WNV in 2011. The last case occurred in KFL&A in 2003.
Release source: KFL&A Public Health | Photo: Wikimedia Commons