Toronto health officials have reported the first confirmed human West Nile virus (WNV) case of the year in an adult resident who had potential exposures in Toronto and outside of the city. This is the second case reported in Canada this year, the other being a female adult from Cambridge.

West Nile virus
Culex quinquefasciatus

West Nile Virus symptoms usually develop between two and 15 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, body ache, skin rash and swollen glands. If you or a family member has concerns about any symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.

In 2013, 18 positive mosquito pools and 12 human cases were reported to Toronto Public Health (TPH). In 2014, 10 positive mosquito pools and three human cases were reported to TPH. To date, TPH has not received any reports of positive mosquito pools for 2015.

Canada reported 21 human WNV cases in 2014.

TPH officials say that while the risk of being infected with West Nile Virus is low, they are reminding to take precautions, including the following:

• wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks and a hat when outdoors,
• use mosquito repellent approved by Health Canada and follow product instructions,
• take extra care during peak mosquito-biting time (dusk and dawn) by using mosquito repellent and wearing protective clothing,
• remove standing water from your property, where mosquitoes can breed, and
• make sure your home has tight-fitting screens on windows and doors.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

Follow @bactiman63