The West Nile Virus (WNV) is primarily a bird virus transmitted to other animals and humans by a mosquito of the Culex species. WNV can cause flu-like symptoms and, rarely, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain or membrane protecting the brain) in humans.
The chance of humans becoming seriously ill from WNV is very small. Most humans are able to overcome any infection from WNV by the normal response of their immune system.
Protect you and your family
York Region's Associate Medical Officer of Health reminds us that personal protection from mosquitoes is still the best method to avoid exposure to the virus.
First, clean up standing water where mosquitoes can breed on your property, including:
- Debris such as buckets, discarded tires and other artificial containers;
- Untended bird baths, clogged rain gutters and plastic wading pools, and;
- Draining septic seepage and other foul water sources above or below ground level.
Secondly, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes:
- Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are active;
- Wear long sleeves and pants to cover skin, and;
- Use insect repellent containing DEET on clothing and exposed skin. For children 6 months to 2 years of age, use a diluted DEET product with 10% or less, and apply only once per day. Healthy children are the least susceptible to developing any symptoms of West Nile Virus because of their strong immune systems.
If you have concerns or questions about West Nile Virus, please call the York Region Health Connection Line at 1-800-361-5653 or visit their website at York Region Health Services for more information.
Other online information:
Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-term Care - Public Health