West Nile virus found in Huron County mos­qui­toes

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Opinion -

Huron County, ON – West Nile Virus has been found in mos­qui­toes in Huron County. The Huron County Health Unit traps mos­qui­toes weekly and has them iden­ti­fied and tested. One sam­ple, col­lected on Aug. 22, 2018, tested pos­i­tive for West Nile Virus.

Pos­i­tive mos­qui­toes have also been found this year in neigh­bour­ing health unit ar­eas.

West Nile virus can spread to hu­mans through the bite of an in­fected mos­quito. “The eas­i­est way to prevent in­fec­tion is to prevent mos­quito bites, es­pe­cially dur­ing dawn and dusk when many mos­quito species are most ac­tive,” says Pub­lic Health In­spec­tor Keshia Hack­ett. Here are some sim­ple pre­cau­tions to help pro­tect your­self from bites:

• Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toe shoes • Use an in­sect re­pel­lant that has been ap­proved by Health Canada, and al­ways read and fol­low the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions • Check the screens in doors and win­dows to en­sure there are no tears or holes

• Dis­turb or elim­i­nate any mos­quito breed­ing grounds on your prop­erty.

• Dump any stand­ing wa­ter in places such bird baths, buck­ets, old tires, pet wa­ter dishes and gut­ters. For most peo­ple, the risk of get­ting in­fected with West Nile virus is low. How­ever peo­ple can be at greater risk of se­ri­ous health ef­fects if they are over the age of 50, have a chronic disease such as can­cer or di­a­betes, or have weak­ened im­mune sys­tems. Most peo­ple in­fected with West Nile Virus ex­pe­ri­ence no symp­toms or have flu-like symp­toms such as fever, headache, stiff neck, weak mus­cles, mild rash, or swollen glands. In more rare and se­vere cases, symp­toms may in­clude se­vere headache, stiff neck, high fever, difficulty swal­low­ing, vom­it­ing, loss of con­scious­ness, loss of co­or­di­na­tion, nau­sea and mus­cle weak­ness and paral­y­sis. Mos­quito ac­tiv­ity de­creases with cooler tem­per­a­tures, but mos­qui­toes re­main ac­tive un­til a sig­nif­i­cant frost event oc­curs.

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