The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is asking the public to continue to take preventative measures against mosquito bites after recent laboratory results confirmed that a positive human case of West Nile virus was found in Simcoe County. This marks the first human case in Simcoe Muskoka this year. According to the health unit’s surveillance program, the West Nile virus activity in the county is normal and not a cause for alarm.
Most people won’t become sick if bitten by an infected mosquito, however, it can cause severe illness in some people. Symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, stiffness in the neck, confusion, sensitivity to light, and a severe headache. In rare cases, it may lead to serious neurological impairment. In all instances where symptoms are appearing, it’s recommended to seek professional medical advice.
As the fall season begins, the health unit is encouraging the public to stay vigilant even as the weather cools because mosquitoes continue to be active into the fall. Here are the protective measures the health unit recommends:
- Use an approved insect repellent and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- In areas where mosquitoes are present, wear light-coloured clothing and cover the arms and legs.
- Try to stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active (dusk to dawn).
West Nile virus can only be transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite if the mosquito has already bitten an infected bird. If you’d like more information about the virus and how to protect yourself, contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or visit SMDHU.org.
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