West Nile Virus found in Toronto

Health officials in Toronto have reported that mosquitoes found in the city have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

Mosquito traps have been set in 43 locations across Toronto. The positive mosquitoes were found at Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue West, and surveillance for the virus will be increased in this area.

Four birds have tested positive for the virus, and no human cases have been reported this summer.

"We have confirmation the virus is present in both birds and mosquitoes, and we are asking the public to take precautions," said Danny Kartzalis, Manager of the West Nile Virus program for Toronto Public Health.

When transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, West Nile virus can cause a mild reactions that include fever, headache and body aches, or be more severe and be marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and, rarely, death. Those at highest risk of severe disease are persons 50 years of age or older and those whose immune systems are weakened by illness or medical treatment.

West Nile Virus Preventative Measures

  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and outdoor hot tubs and saunas. If they are not in use, empty them and keep them covered.
  • After a rainstorm, eliminate the standing water that has collected on your property in places such as pool covers, old tires, buckets, flowerpots, toys and birdbaths.
  • Limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, or anytime in the evening when mosquito activity is highest.
  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET, such as Ultrathon insect repellent from 3M. Originally developed to protect U.S. troops, Ultrathon insect repellent lotion was ranked the number one insect repellent in the May 2003 issue of a leading magazine that rates consumer products.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and hats to minimize the areas of exposed skin.
  • Make sure there are no holes in screen doors or windows so mosquitoes can't get inside.
  • Stay inside at night if there is a warning of mosquito-borne disease in effect

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