The first human case of West Nile virus in nearly two years has been reported in the London area.
The area public health office, the Middlesex London Health Unit, on Wednesday said the mosquito-borne case was its first since September 2015. It urged area residents to take precautions against mosquito bites.
Officials can’t pinpoint exactly where the person was when they were bitten by the infected mosquito, but said they were in the area when the disease developed.
So far this summer, mosquitoes from six health-unit traps in London have tested positive for the disease. No dead birds — often, a sentinel species for the virus’s presence — have been tested since 2015.
“Most people aren’t thinking about mosquitoes at this time of year, but to have a report of a human case of West Nile virus is a reminder that we still need to be vigilant and protect ourselves from mosquito bites,” said Mary Lou Albanese, infectious disease control team manager.
“We know West Nile virus is present in our community, but generally people tend not to take the risk too seriously.”
Residents can protect themselves from bites by wearing loose fitting, light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants and by using insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET.
You can help to limit mosquito populations by emptying standing water from eavestroughs, flower pots, children’s toys and bird baths.
Just this month, three people have died of West Nile virus in Windsor-Essex, according to public health officials.
A mild winter and wet spring created a perfect storm for mosquito-breeding conditions in the London region, meteorologists had said.
Most people infected with the West Nile virus either have flu-like symptoms or none at all. In rare cases the virus can result in hospitalization or death.
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