Last week London Middlesex Health Unit confirmed their first positive human case of west nile virus in 2 years.
West Nile is a virus commonly carried by birds and mosquitoes. In nearly all situations, humans contract West Nile by a bite from an infected mosquito.
Up to 80% of people who have been bitten will not show symptoms. Those who do are subject to ailments like headaches, muscle and joint pain, and fevers.
In severe situations the illness can lead to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain.
There is no known cure, or vaccine to reverse the effects of West Nile. Taking precautions and preventative measures are key to being as safe from the virus as possible.
As the temperatures continue to stay warm, Marylou Albanese the manager of Infectious Disease at the London Middlesex Health Unit cautions people.
“This time of year we’re not thinking (about) mosquitos as much, and that’s where we really need to pay attention and continue to protect ourselves.”
Dr. Wajid Ahmed is the acting medical health officer at the Windsor-Essex Health Unit, says that there are many simple ways to protect yourself.
“Getting rid of standing water, I’d say people should do that first.”
Standing water is a pool of water that is still. At any size, standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Pockets of standing water can be found anywhere. It is important to check for these pools after a heavy rain, to ensure mosquitoes cannot lay their eggs.
Dr. Ahmed also recommends:
- Wearing loose, light coloured clothing, that is made out of a tight knit material
- Wearing insect repellant that contains DEET, and spraying skin that is uncovered
- To check that all door and window screen are properly fitted, and without holes