Health officials advise mosquito repellent use

Mosquito trap

There have been 24 reported human cases of West Nile Virus that were either confirmed or probable, according to Public Health Ontario's website. The virus has been present in Louisiana since 2001 and in Texas since 2002, and together, the two states have reported more than 6,500 human cases of West Nile.

While many people who become infected don't develop symptoms, others become sick in 3-15 days after exposure.

"This is an important reminder to stay vigilant and protect against mosquito bites throughout the summer and into the fall", said Dr. Eden Wells, the agency's chief medical executive. The virus survives in nature in birds and is transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds.

Catch basins were treated in this area to stop emergence of mosquito species that can carry West Nile virus, and additional surveillance traps have been set up to gauge population density and determine if additional virus can be isolated.

The higher risk group includes people over age 60, and people with chronic diseases such as cancer or heart disease, and symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches and rash. So, it is advised that if people experience any symptoms of West Nile Virus then they should immediately contact the nearest healthcare provider.

Less than one percent of people who are infected develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). West Nile fever is a less serious form of the illness, although the symptoms can last a long time, according to health officials. If you're out and about - especially in wooded areas or the mountains - it's important to wear long sleeves, long trousers and bug spray to stay safe.

Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water. More mosquitoes, means more problems for you. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and trousers when outdoors, and prevent standing water as mosquito breeding grounds on your property.

Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.

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