First person infected with West Nile virus in Niagara
Niagara Region Public Health has detected its first laboratory-confirmed infection of West Nile virus for 2023.
Although most people infected with West Nile virus do not get sick, 20 per cent of people experience flu-like symptoms and fatigue. And one per cent experience severe symptoms and serious health effects, such as
- a rapid severe headache,
- neck stiffness,
- weakness, and
- sudden sensitivity to light.
Older individuals or individuals with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms.
While flu-like symptoms may be attributable to many causes, West Nile virus could be a possibility in an individual experiencing any of the above symptoms and recent exposure to mosquito bites.
To prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of being exposed to West Nile virus, Public Health advises the following:
- Drain standing water around the home where mosquitoes may breed (e.g., bird baths, plant saucers, tires, toys, pails and wheelbarrows)
- Repair damaged doors and window screens
- Avoid mosquito-infested areas, such as storm sewers
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, hats, long pants, socks and shoes that cover the feet – especially at dawn and in the evening when mosquitoes are active or in shaded parkland
- Use insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin
Further information concerning West Nile virus illness and how to reduce the risk of infection can be found online at www.niagararegion.ca/health or call Public Health at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074, ext. 7590 for more information.