First Local Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed

CKTB News- West Nile

The first human case of West Nile Virus this year has been confirmed in Windsor Essex.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit says this is the first clinically diagnosed case in this area and the fourth in Ontario.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says even with the cooler evenings here, it's still important to take personal protective measures.

He says it's not that unusual the first human case is coming this late in the season.

"Almost four out of five individuals who are infected wiht the West Nile Virus may not show any signs of symptoms, so it's hard ot say for sure that this is what the situation is" says Dr. Ahmed.  But we know the West Nile Virus exists in almost every part of Windsor Essex."

Dr. Ahmed says compared to last year when the first of 12 cases was identified in July, this is late.

"As we know, most of these cases often go unreported" explains Dr. Ahmed.  "So we're not totally surprised but you can say this is relatively late in the season compared to previous years."

He says he can't comment in detail on the patient, but the fact it was diagnosed is significant.

"In any situation where the doctor feels they need to test for West Nile, they have to be somewhat sicker than being ignored" sys Dr. Ahmed  "And that's where it prompts them to test for West Nile Virus."

He adds resident should make efforts to eliminate standing water on their property where mosquitos can breed.

The health Unit has several suggestions for avoiding a mosquito bite:

  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Icaridin or other approved ingredients on clothing as well as exposed skin. Always read and follow label directions.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors. Light-coloured clothing is best as mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours.
  • Limit the time you spend outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. 
  • Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.