Ottawa Public Health said it is currently investigating a probable case of West Nile Virus in the city, which if confirmed would be the first human case in Ottawa since 2006.

Dr. Carolyn Pim, the city's associate medical officer of health, said the patient is an elderly person from Ottawa who is exhibiting symptoms. Public health became aware of the patient a couple of days ago.

West Nile is transferred through mosquitoes that carry the virus, but officials say most individuals who are exposed show no symptoms.

Recommended preventive measures include:

  • Using mosquito repellent with DEET.
  • Wearing long-sleeved light-coloured shirts and pants.
  • Make sure that door and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors
  • Roughly 20 per cent of people who are infected may show some flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches and pain.

The city had already confirmed earlier this month the presence of West Nile in the mosquito population.

Health officials across Ontario and in several other provinces have warned about an increase in mosquitos carrying the virus.

Toronto Public Health said the city has seen 38 human cases this summer as of Monday.