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First human case of West Nile Virus reported in Hamilton this season

HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton has received confirmation of the first local human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this season prompting the Medical Officer of Health to move the WNV risk from low to moderate.

Residents are reminded to protect themselves against mosquito bites and to remove standing water from private property to prevent mosquito breeding.

While most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms (approximately 80 per cent), others including older adults or those with weakened immune systems may experience West Nile fever (~20 per cent) or they may develop more severe illness including inflammation of the brain or the lining of the brain (~1 per cent). For any infection, if symptoms do occur, they appear two to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. 

Take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitos:

  • Use a mosquito repellent (bug spray) containing DEET or Icaridin.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes are known to be present or cover up by wearing light coloured long sleeves and long pants when in mosquito areas such as wooded areas, on the golf course, or in the garden, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Reduce mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water at least weekly from your property. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in very shallow standing water. If you remove the standing water, they cannot lay eggs. 

“It is important to take precautions to avoid illnesses spread by insects including West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Eastern equine encephpalitis. Employing simple preventive measures such as using insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, covering up, and removing standing water on your property to prevent mosquito breeding will reduce your risk while you enjoy the outdoors. The risk of these infections will drop once there is a heavy frost that reduces the number of mosquitoes.”

- Dr. Bart Harvey, Associate Medical Officer of Health

The City of Hamilton continually assesses the risk for human illness as part of a comprehensive West Nile virus surveillance and prevention program. The City has begun its first round of larviciding treatments on city street catch basins, in addition to ongoing treatment of surface waters on public land.

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