London, Ontario Reports First Human Case of West Nile Virus for 2023 – London

The Middles*x-London Health Unit has reported the first locally acquired human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for the summer of 2023.

According to Public Health Ontario, there have been five probable and confirmed human cases of WNV in Ontario, along with 222 positive mosquito pools.

“Five mosquito traps have already been identified as positive for WNV in Middles*x-London. This human case underscores the need for everyone in our community to take precautions,” said Dr Joanne Kearon, Deputy Medical Officer of the Middles*x-London Health Unit.

However, 80 percent of people infected with WNV do not get sick, and those who are usually have mild symptoms. The virus can also only be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, so human-to-human transmission is not a risk.

“People with symptoms are usually mild muscle aches and fever, sometimes a rash,” Kearon said. “However, about 1 percent of people can become seriously ill from meningitis or encephalitis, and so become confused, lose consciousness, have seizures, and end up in hospital.”

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The MLHU says it will continue to carry out investigations and control efforts across the region. It also reminds residents of London-Middles*x that WNV is still present in the community.

“Some of our advice includes staying away from areas with large concentrations of mosquitoes, especially at dusk and dawn when they’re most active,” Kearon said.

“Using an insect repellent that has been shown to be effective, such as DEET, and wearing light-colored, long-sleeved clothing can reduce the risk.”

Other steps people can take to protect themselves include:

  • Make sure standing water on your property is drained.
  • Regular rotation of water in pedestal birdbaths.
  • Cover the openings of the rain barrels.
  • Closing and opening garden pools correctly.

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