West Nile death con­firmed in lo­cal area

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION -

Six hu­man cases of West Nile virus have been re­ported with one re­sult­ing in death so far this year in the lo­cal re­gion.

This com­pares with just one con­firmed case last year, said the Haldimand-Nor­folk Health Unit is a re­cent me­dia re­lease.

The last re­ported case of some­one dy­ing from West Nile virus in the area was back in 2016.

Re­cent data shows five mosquito pools tested pos­i­tive – two in Cayuga and one in each of Sim­coe, Dun­nville, and Cale­do­nia.

“The pos­i­tive hu­man cases and pos­i­tive mosquito pools is a clear in­di­ca­tion that threat of West Nile virus is present within our re­gion and the pub­lic must take mea­sures to pro­tect them­selves,” said Kwesi Douglas, pro­gram man­ager of en­vi­ron­men­tal health at the HNHU.

West Nile gen­er­ally peaks in the late sum­mer, with cases be­ing re­ported in the fall. It’s ex­pected that res­i­dents will be at risk of the virus un­til tem­per­a­tures dip be­low freez­ing.

As of Sept. 22 there were 88 re­ported cases of West Nile virus in On­tario.

The fol­low­ing is a list of things res­i­dents can do to pro­tect them­selves:

* Ap­ply mosquito re­pel­lant con­tain­ing DEET

* Avoid be­ing out­doors at dusk and dawn

* Wear light coloured cloth­ing with long sleeves and pants

* Promptly elim­i­nate stand­ing wa­ter on your prop­erty.

Most peo­ple in­fected will not have any symp­toms, while oth­ers may ex­pe­ri­ence fever, headache and body aches. Those with weak­ened im­mune sys­tems are at higher risk of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing more se­ri­ous health ef­fects such as menin­gi­tis, en­cephali­tis and acute flac­cid paral­y­sis.

If you ex­pe­ri­ence any symp­toms the HNHU rec­om­mends you seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

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