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Increased risk for West Nile Virus in Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON - A batch of mosquitoes trapped this week in Hamilton tested positive for West Nile Virus. These are the first West Nile Virus positive mosquitos for Hamilton this year, prompting Hamilton’s Medical Officer of Health West to move the West Nile Virus 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. 

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 recently completed a second round of larviciding treatments on city street catch basins, in addition to ongoing treatment of surface waters on public land.

While approximately four-out-of-five people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms, 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. 

Protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes:

  •  Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
  • 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.

“In the warmer months it is important to take precautions to avoid illnesses spread by insects including West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. Employing simple preventive measures such as using insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, and wearing loose fitting, light-colored clothing will reduce your risk while you enjoy the outdoors.”

- Dr. Bart Harvey, Associate Medical Officer of Health

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